By the Way

Favoured one

When the Ministry proposes, the Prime Minister’s Office disposes. Or so it seems. The latest episode relates to three vacant posts in NHAI, viz. Member-Administration, Member-Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Member-Technical. It is learnt that more than 30 aspirants applied for each of these posts. The practice in the ministry is that they wait for applications to be routed through the respective cadre-controlling authorities. Vijay Chhibber, former Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, was a man in a hurry due to his fast approaching retirement in December 2015 and constant pressure from higher-ups in the Ministry. The search committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary, therefore, met in December itself with the limited number of applications received from the cadre-controlling authorities, ignoring other applicants. The gameplan was reportedly to install the protégé of the then Secretary in these crucial posts. The search committee recommended Neeraj Verma for Member-Administration, Rohit Kumar Singh for Member-PPP and BS Singla for the post of Member-Technical. It is learnt that the PMO took its own time and did a due diligence and returned the proposal with directions to re-advertise the posts of Member-Admin and Member-Technical. However, Neeraj Verma’s name was cleared for Member-PPP even though the search committee had recommended him for the post of Member-Administration. Nobody knows what came in the way for the fall guys.

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