After re-appointing new governors of many states such as Kerala, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh among others, the Narendra Modi-led government is now cleaning up the boards of top public sector units by replacing all those independent directors whose appointments were seen as "politically motivated" and done by the UPA regime in the past one year.
The PSUs chosen in the first phase for the new-look boards include cash-rich Indian Oil, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL).
HT had first reported on August 26 that the government has sent out informal diktats to these state-owned companys' managements to replace independent directors whose appointments were seen as "politically motivated".
While four independent directors of IOC were sacked last week, the Centre is now seeking to remove nine similar Congress-appointees from the boards of ONGC, HPCL and MRPL.
After getting Indian Oil to drop four independent directors and Engineers India Ltd to boot out two, it is now seeking to sack former power secretary P Uma Shankar, chartered accountant (CA) S Ravi and former BPCL chairman RK Singh from the board of ONGC. It also wants chartered accountant Rohit Khanna to be removed from the board of HPCL.
Also, chartered accountant C L Shah; former IAS officer Neela Gangadharan; professor at Indian Institute of Science, Jayant M Modak; professor of marketing at Banaras Hindu University, Usha Kiran Rai, and ship master Capt John Prasad Menezes are being sought to be removed from board of MRPL, a subsidiary of ONGC.
A senior minister confirmed that a review is underway of all appointments made by the UPA during its last year in office. "The advisers of the new government will be those who can add real value to the working of our PSUs," he said.
Sources said the removal is being done in the same manner as in IOC — by not getting a resolution for their appointment approved by the shareholders at annual general meetings.
IOC did not move a resolution for the confirmation of appointment of K Jairaj, Nesar Ahmad, Sunil Krishna and Sayan Chatterjee at its AGM in Mumbai on August 27. The same mode was used to remove HPCL's HR director, V Vizia Saradhi, and former law secretary, D R Meena, from the board of Engineers India Ltd.