B S Lalli, embattled chief executive officer of India's national broadcaster Prasar Bharati (PB) has got a lease of life with the country's top legal officer saying the government cannot seek his removal without seeking his clarification.
The law ministry had earlier given a go-ahead to the I&B ministry to ask the Supreme Court to initiate a probe against Lalli on the basis of a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report. The report indicted PB on several counts of financial irregularities.
Earlier, additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran had said the charges in the report submitted in August were serious enough to warrant his removal. Lalli had submitted a representation to the Cabinet Secretariat on the charge stating he cannot be blamed for someone else misdemeanors.
The PMO then asked the law ministry to reconsider its opinion and on October 6, Attorney General GE Vahanwati told the government the SC inquiry cannot be sought without Lalli's version on the irregularities.
As the I&B ministry will now seek Lalli's view, the issue is likely to come up for discussion at the Prasar Bharati board meeting on Thursday despite protests by the CEC.
Prasar Bharati chairperson Mrinal Pande has circulated the CVC report among all members and had asked Lalli to include discussion on the report as part of the meeting's agenda.
It has, however, not been included, board members said.
"The CVC report has also indicted other officials against whom action needs to be taken," a board member said.
"For that to happen board will have to discuss the CVC report."
It is believed that Pande is keen that the board takes a formal view on the CVC report, which Lalli is opposing.
Members were not aware whether Pande will introduce additional agenda to discuss the CVC report.