Armed with an RTI reply from the Cabinet Secretariat on the appointment of Air India chief Arvind Jadhav, BJP on Saturday said the PMO has "manipulatively subverted" the process to benefit him and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to clear the air on the issue.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, former aviation minister and BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Saturday said, "A close scrutiny of the minutes for appointment (of Jadhav) are shocking or rather appalling on how this appointment for an extremely challenging job post-merger was executed manipulatively subverting all norms of appointment."
Rudy has alleged, based on an RTI reply received from the Cabinet Secretariat, that Jadhav- who became Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Air India in April 2009- was selected by the Search Committee despite having no "domain experience".
The BJP spokesperson also pointed out that an earlier Search Committee, chosen in 2008, ruled out his selection on the grounds that though he was the "best among the available candidates" in the panel of seven shortlisted persons, he had no experience.
"However, in view of complex administrative issues in the area of personnel and finance management arising out of the merger of the two airlines (Air India and Indian Airlines) and the consequent need for experience in the civil aviation sector, the Committee decided that further deliberations be undertaken about the choice of the candidate," state the minutes of the Search Committee meeting held on March 6 and March 24, 2008.
Raghu Menon was chosen CMD, Air India by the Committee but a year later- when he resigned- Jadhav was selected by the next Search Committee.
The Search Committee comprised of Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar and Principal Secretary to PM, T K A Nair.