Caste Rao with Banerjee rumbles on

Vol 10, PW 8 (10 Aug 06) News in Brief

GAIL chairman Proshanto Banerjee is challenging moves to penalise him for alleged discrimination against one of his boardroom colleagues: SP Rao, director projects.

Rao, a low caste Hindu, claims Banerjee, a high caste Hindu, blocked his application for managing director at Petronet-LNG because of his low rank in the Hindu social pecking order. Rao sought the support of Indias anti-discrimination watchdog, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, which ruled in his favour.

On 7th July, Fox Mandal & Co, lawyers for Banerjee, formally challenged the Commission findings in a writ petition before the Delhi High Court. Banerjee defends his decision to block Raos application saying it had nothing to do with caste and everything to do with compelling grounds in the interests of the company (GAIL).

Oil secretary MS Srinivasan supports Rao in his dispute with Banerjee. The case continues with the next court hearing scheduled for 19th September.

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