Within a gap of few hours on Tuesday, state-run broadcaster Doordarshan had two director generals — one full-time and another acting.
In the morning, Aruna Sharma, a Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer, joined as the DG on the directions of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, a day after the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) asked the government to continue with acting DG Nooren Naqvi. The ministry was also told not to appoint a regular DG.
Deputy Director General Ashok Jhalkhani had filed a petition with CAT, stating that he was not called for the interview for the post of DG but his junior, acting DG, All India Radio, Jai Lal was.
“On Monday, CAT asked the government to maintain status quo,” said a DD official, who didn’t wish to be identified.
The CAT order was reportedly delivered to the ministry late Monday evening. Sharma, who was apparently not informed about it, joined as the DG, taking charge from Naqvi.
“She even called a meeting of senior officials as is the custom,” the official said.
But by early afternoon, senior officials of the Prasar Bharati Corporation, the body that controls DD, learnt about the CAT order. They swung into action as Sharma taking over as the DG would amount to contempt of the order.
By late evening, Prasar Bharati issued a circular, saying Naqvi would continue as acting DG, forcing Sharma, a 1982-batch officer, to relinquish office, said sources. Prasar Bharati CEO B.S. Lalli was not available for comments even after repeated attempts.
Jhalkani, the petitioner in the case, was not in the office to witness the drama that kept the Mandi House, the DD headquarters, busy during the day.