J&K wants CVO at ONGC to stay in Kashmir

Vol 24, PW 19 (12 Aug 21) People & Policy

Jammu & Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha is unhappy that Delhi has appointed Ranjan Prakash Thakur as ONGC's new Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO).

Thakur, an Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer, is the principal secretary in the J&K industry and commerce department and one of Sinha's favourites. "Sinha doesn't want Thakur to go," a well-placed source tells this report.

Sinha is said to have grand plans for Thakur as J&K aggressively pursues industrialisation following Narendra Modi's controversial decision in August 2019 to remove the state's semi-autonomous status by splitting it into the federal territories of J&K and Buddhist-dominated Ladakh. Sinha handpicked Thakur for his team and appointed him principal secretary, industries and commerce on February 25 (2021).

"Sinha will not let him go to ONGC and is likely to lobby at the highest level in Delhi to ensure he (Thakur) stays," he adds. Born on August 13, 1966, 54-year-old Thakur is politically well-connected.

He studied at Delhi's prestigious St Stephen's College, the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Indore. He has also held coveted posts in the railways, including as executive director tourism and catering, brand head of the premium Shatabdi Express train service, and divisional manager at Danapur in Bihar.

Thakur has also worked as personal secretary to information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni (2009-2012) and additional director general of state-owned television network Doordarshan (direct-to-home) services. Before heading to Srinagar in May (2021), Thakur was on deputation to NTPC as fuel transportation executive director.

Sinha spotted the "result-oriented" Thakur during his time as the minister of state for railways from 2014 to 2016, among the first set of ministers appointed when Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014. "Unlike other Indian politicians," adds a BJP source, "Sinha is highly educated; he knows how to spot and nurture talented officers like Thakur."

Sinha holds a B.Tech and an M.

Tech from IIT Varanasi and was student union president at Banaras Hindu University.