Anna Hazare's anti-corruption drive seems to have made the government machinery extra vigilant.In a new turn of events, the case of Sudhir Vasudeva's selection as the next chief of India's highest profit making firm Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has been re-opened, with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) refusing to give a clean chit for alleged corruption charges against Vasudeva.
Vasudeva's case, which had received a clean chit from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the petroleum minister, was in the last leg of getting a final approval from members of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet that includes the Prime Minister and the home minister.
However, following some fresh complaints, the PMO returned Vasudeva's file last week to the CVC for further investigations, said sources.
"Following directions from the PMO, Vasudeva's case has now been referred back to the CVC, which had recently given Vasudeva a clean chit," said a senior petroleum ministry official on the condition of anonymity.
The PMO was processing Vasudeva's case for final approval but recommendations of the CVC and petroleum minister Jaipal Reddy have been turned down by the PMO for further re-investigations by the CVC, the official said. "We have no role here, the case has been re-opened and referred back to the CVC on directions from the PMO."
When contacted, Vasudeva told HT that he was not aware of the new developments but said that all earlier charges against him have been proved wrong. "These charges are motivated and even the CVC after looking at these had given its clean chit," he said. "Beyond this, I don't want to say anything."
ONGC has been without a full-time chairman since RS Sharma retired on January 31.
The government headhunters Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) had on October 19 last year selected Vasudeva, 56, head of offshore oil and gas fields of ONGC, to replace Sharma on January 31. However, Vasudeva's appointment got delayed as complaints were made against him for corruption by MPs, some of them being fake complaints.