A parliamentary committee has found irregularities in the appointment of Atul Kumar Rai, the current managing director of state-controlled IFCI Ltd (Industrial Finance Corporation of India).
The committee's report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday recommends a CBI probe into Atul Rai's appointment to ascertain facts and "fix responsibility at the higher level in the then hierarchy of officers" in the finance ministry.
Vinod Rai, the current CAG of India, was the country's finance secretary when Atul Rai was appointed as whole-time director in IFCI in 2007.HT, in its February 27 edition, had first reported on how Atul Rai concealed facts before taking up the top job at IFCI.
According to CBI sources, the agency has already registered a preliminary enquiry on the appointment of Atul Rai a few weeks ago, concerning the alleged suppression of information to seek voluntary retirement in order to join IFCI.
The committee said Atul Rai's application was processed by wrongful interpretation of the relevant rules. "The committee is….quite amazed to see the swiftness with which the file moved among the higher-ups in the department," it noted.
"It is better that I first read the parliamentary report and then give a response which is informed," Atul Rai told HT.
The report said as a director in the finance ministry and government's nominee on the IFCI board, Atul Rai was privy to sensitive information about IFCI.
Government rules mandate that any Class A Central Services Officer wishing to take up commercial employment immediately after leaving a government job must disclose exhaustive details about positions and responsibilities held during his tenure in government. It is here that Atul Rai was found on the wrong foot. As an Indian Economic Service officer in the finance ministry, he was the government's nominee on the IFCI board between 2005 and 2007. He later on went on to head IFCI from July, 2007.
"All these facts point towards a definite collusive effort on the part of joint secretary and secretary to accord undue favour to Shri Rai," the report said.