Vasudeva receives last-minute CVC clearance

Vol 14, PW 20 (07 Apr 11) People & Policy

At long last supporters of ONGC director offshore Sudhir Vasudeva can raise a well-deserved toast to his future success.

PETROWATCH learns India’s Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) last month finally cleared Vasudeva’s file for his appointment as ONGC chairman. “Vasudeva’s file reached the oil ministry from the CVC on March 27,” said an industry source.

“Since then it has been with oil minister Jaipal Reddy.” What prompted this sudden reversal After all, wasn’t Vasudeva prevented from stepping into the post on February 1, 2011 because of allegations of “impropriety” Insiders tell this report oil secretary S.

Sundareshan is responsible for securing Vasudeva’s CVC clearance. “PJ Thomas (former CVC commissioner) refused to clear Vasudeva’s file but he was sacked from his post in early March,” says an oil ministry source.

Sundareshan, he alleges, saw a clear opportunity to help Vasudeva and asked additional oil secretary Sudhir Bhargava to push Vasudeva’s case with the CVC once again. “Bhargava wrote to (then) CVC secretary KS Ramasubban on March 11 asking him to reconsider Vasudeva’s file,” we hear.

“Two days later, Ramasubban replied positively and set Vasudeva’s clearance in motion.” This was one of Ramasubban’s last acts as CVC secretary before retiring - he reached age 60 on March 19.

Ramasubban is believed to be good friends with Sundareshan, as both joined the IAS in 1976. Oil minister Reddy is expected to send Vasudeva’s file for signature soon to India’s powerful Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC), headed by the Prime Minister.

“The file could be sent onwards to the ACC within this week itself,” added a source on April 4. Still unclear is how long ACC clearance of Vasudeva’s file will take but our source suggests it is likely to take between ten days and a month.