The functioning of the Prasar Bharati Board, which controls public broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio, is at a standstill these days as the board members are caught in a turf war on the issue of curtailing Chief Executive Officer BS Lalli’s powers.
The minutes of the board meeting, held on March 23, revealed about the unrest. A note accusing Lalli of arbitrarily running the organisation flouting government rules was approved at the meeting with seven members voicing in its favour and three against it.
The differences between the two groups headed by Prasar Bharati chairman Arun Bhatnagar and CEO Lalli resulted in no other issue being discussed at the meeting except the endorsement of the appointment of Aruna Sharma as Director-General, Doordarshan.
“In the entire meeting, questions were being raised over certain decisions made by the CEO regarding the Commonwealth Games,” a board member told Hindustan Times.
In the note adopted by the board, the six members have asked Bhatnagar to convene a special meeting to discuss the implementation of a project on the coverage of the Commonwealth Games as the project was violating rules and had several financial irregularities.
They have also alleged that minutes of the February board meeting, in which allegations were levelled against Lalli, circulated by Office on Special Duty D Malvey were illegal. They have added that the minutes circulated by Bhatnagar has been confirmed.
Lalli in his defence had said the powers had been delegated to the CEO through a board resolution adopted in 1997 and said the note against him was in violation of the Prasar Bharati Act. However, Lalli could not be contacted for his comment nor did he respond to a questionnaire send by HT on the board meeting.
The six members, who circulated the note, has asked the board to delegate the CEO’s financial powers to member (Finance) AK Jain and his control over Prasar Bharati secretariat should vest with member (personnel) V Shivkumar.
“The chairman has been asked to notify the delegation of the powers to the members to ensure that the board functions in a transparent manner,” a member, who was not willing to be quoted, said.