Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stepped in to appoint a chief for NMDC Limited, a post which has been lying vacant for almost two years. Singh has moved in after the Committee on Public Undertakings (CoPU) has sought his intervention to appoint a CMD for the country’s biggest iron ore mining company.
Singh is learnt to be upset on the way NMDC is being managed with its profitability dipping complaints of irregularities rising. CoPU chairman, Congress MP Jagdambika Pal had written to the Prime Minister on December 13 saying the steel ministry has pushed the case of two directors in NMDC despite strong adverse criticism by the Central Vigilance Commission against them.
Though former CMD Rana Som left office on December 31, 2011, the steel ministry has not been able to get a substitute. SAIL chairman CS Verma is currently holding additional charge of the public sector company.
Pal told the Prime Minister that the CVC has found director (technical) NK Nanda “wrongly awarding”a contract for NMDC’s greenfield project in Chhattisgarh by inflating costs by Rs 350 crore.
“Since October 2012, the CVC has been repeatedly asking the steel ministry to fix up responsibility for these serious lapses against Nanda and director finance S Thiagrajan, but each time the ministry sent a closure report,” Pal said.
In a letter on December 26, the Prime Minister’s Office has asked the department of personnel and training for “a careful examination and report in this matter (Pal’s letter)”. Accordingly DoPT has asked for details of the complaints against Nanda and set a deadline of January 3 for the reply.
Pal in his letter has also alleged that the steel ministry has failed to give a satisfactory reply to the CVC on other charges too. “You are known for honesty and probity in public life. I am sure that you will not allow corrupt officers to manipulate the system,” Pal has written in his letter to Singh.