DGH sends Reddy and Gupta back to ONGC

Vol 26, PW 4 (09 Feb 23) People & Policy

For many, it's surprising that two DGH additional director generals (ADGs) have abruptly returned to their parent organisation ONGC.

Inevitably, their departure has triggered speculation they displeased their political masters. Whatever the reason, candidates interested in their jobs must apply by February 20 (2023) after the DGH advertised the roles on January 27 (2023).

Nine days earlier (January 18), ONGC issued an order for Anand Gupta and Chintapally Laxma Reddy to return to ONGC. Gupta was the ADG (development) at the DGH, and Reddy was the ADG (exploration).

According to their LinkedIn profiles, both have been ADGs since January 2020, when after day-long interviews, they were selected on December 10 (2019). Gupta moves to the newly created corporate strategy and affairs department, directly reporting to chairman Arun Singh.

"Posted in the new vertical of corporate strategy and affairs in Delhi," says the order, signed by ONGC chief manager Virendra Pratap Singh. Gupta is believed to be the first ONGC officer posted to the newly-created corporate strategy department, overseen by a yet-to-be-appointed director, in line with a December 7 (2022) government order.

Reddy moves to the office of director exploration Sushma Rawat. Still unclear is whether they have yet taken up their new posts.

Gupta was to be relieved of his ADG duties by January 28 (2023), while Reddy was to be relieved by January 25 (2023). "For Gupta, it's a good posting in the new department," says a source.

"But Reddy is older than Sushma Rawat, so it might be awkward for him to report to her." Ambitious Gupta and Reddy were unsuccessful in several interviews for director-level jobs at ONGC.

Reddy holds a doctorate in applied geology and was mainly responsible for policy on reducing crude imports, evaluating unexplored sedimentary basins under the national seismic programme, early commercialisation of discoveries, increasing oil and gas production and attracting foreign investment and technology. Gupta was responsible for overseeing policy on output and spearheading the DGH's initiatives to auction CBM blocks.

According to former ONGC whistle-blower Hari Kumar, their return results from the DGH's failure to meet Narendra Modi's 10% oil import reduction target set in 2015. Others see a more innocuous explanation: they completed their three-year term.