Govt. ignores Prasar Bharati irregularities, targets man who exposed them

BY Indian Express| IN Media Practice | 02/03/2009
On election eve, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting guns for an official who was trying to nail financial wrong doing in Prasar Bharati, under CEO BS Lalli’s watch.

The government stopped pretending some time ago that Prasar Bharati was autonomous. But its board has lately begun to assert itself so there is a problem. What takes one¿s breath away is its decision to ignore the financial wrong doing in the corporation exposed by the Member (Finance) it appointed on the Prasar Bharati Board two years ago. And to ease him out, saying that his appointment was against the rules in the first place!  

All this brazen misgovernance within the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting takes place with elections imminent. Evidently the government does not think its wrong doing will affect its fortunes. The story of what is going on in Prasar Bharati and the Ministry is an Indian Express expose. Read the story below, published on March 2, 2009. And an  earlier story published on February 28, 2009.


AK Jain, chief critic of Prasar functioning, told to return to parent cadre or quit IAS         

D K Singh & Amitabh Sinha

New Delhi: Arun Kumar Jain, Member (Finance) of the Prasar Bharati Board whose objections on the financial goings-on in India¿s largest public broadcaster led to a severe indictment of CEO B S Lalli by board members, has been given marching orders by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Jain, a 1977-batch IAS officer, has been asked by the ministry to revert to his parent Nagaland cadre or resign from the IAS. A communication in this regard, issued with the approval of Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Anand Sharma, has been sent to Prasar Bharati — an autonomous body constituted by an Act of Parliament — with a copy to Jain, who has been given seven days to exercise his option.

As reported by The Sunday Express on February 28, Jain had written a series of letters to the CEO and the Board pointing out a string of financial lapses and irregularities in the functioning of the corporation, viz., fiscal indiscipline, fudging of figures in the balance sheet, expenditures in excess of budgetary allocations, and other instances of financial lapses.

He had raised these issues at a board meeting on January 21, on the basis of which several members had recorded their strong objections, and recommended that all the delegated powers of the CEO be withdrawn "forthwith".

The order to Jain, a copy of which has been obtained by The Indian Express, cites rules that do not allow a central Government officer on deputation to be appointed as a whole-time member of the Prasar Bharati Board. However, it does not clarify why it took the ministry about two years to realize that Jain¿s appointment was against rules.

"DoPT (Department of Personnel & Training) has informed that Sh AK Jain has not been deputed either under Rule 6(1) or under 6(2)(ii) of IAS Cadre Rules 1964. Forwarding of an application by a department does not sanction for deputation or permission for permanent absorption," says the ministry¿s letter, signed by deputy secretary Jayanthi G.

"In view of this, Sh AK Jain may be advised to either revert back to his parent cadre with immediate effect or submit his resignation from the Indian Administrative Service w.e.f. the date he assumed charge of post of Member (Finance). He may be given a maximum of seven days for exercising this option. This issues with approval of MoS (I&B)," the letter said.

Anand Sharma was not available for a comment.


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