gfiles governance awards 2019
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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