Close on the heels of the suspension of Prasar Bharati CEO BS Lalli, a senior bureaucrat from the information and broadcasting ministry is likely to be appointed to the public broadcaster as an acting chief executive officer.
When a decision to appoint a new CEO is taken - whether it is after Lalli completes his tenure, if the Supreme Court inquiry finds him innocent, or because he is removed - the officer may then be moved as the ministry's official nominee on the Prasar Bharati board.
Lalli was formally served a suspension order on Wednesday after President Pratibha Patil assented to this late on Tuesday evening.
Top government sources told HT that the officer was likely to be asked to assume charge on Thursday or Friday to enable the Prasar Bharati board to convene a meeting in early January. The meeting had been held up for some time now.
The Delhi High Court had curtailed Lalli's powers over the public broadcaster by forming a committee. He was told he could take all decisions only in consultation with two other Prasar Bharati board members. Lalli, however, stopped attending meetings with the panel.
As a result, while the two board members had been managing day-to-day decisions jointly, there was an urgent requirement for a designated CEO on the board, even if temporarily.
The I&B minister indicated that amendments to the act could deal with issues like employees' grievances about salaries and working conditions. "We would like to make the act as healthy and as conducive to a public broadcaster as possible," Ambika Sonia said.