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Appointments: Former chairman of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation RS Sharma criticises NDA government’s move

The government has removed several independent directors from the boards of Coal India, ONGC, IOC, HPCL and MRPL.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 25, 2014, 04.25 AM IST
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The government has removed several independent directors from the boards of Coal India, ONGC, IOC, HPCL and MRPL.
The government has removed several independent directors from the boards of Coal India, ONGC, IOC, HPCL and MRPL.
NEW DELHI: Former chairman of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) RS Sharma has in a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee criticised the NDA government’s decision to remove independent directors appointed by the previous regime on the boards of state-run companies. Sharma has also offered to resign from all such positions.

Sharma wrote to the president after state-run steel maker SAIL informed him that he was no longer an independent director on the company’s board.Earlier, two other independent directors in the company—Parminder Hira Mathur and NC Jha—had stepped down from their posts. Mathur and Jha were appointed by the UPA government.

The government has removed several independent directors from the boards of Coal India, ONGC, IOC, HPCL and MRPL.

“The Hon’ble Prime Minister, on his assuming the office on May 14, had given the slogan ‘Minimum Government-Maximum Governance’ as a philosophy of the new government,” Sharma said in the letter. “The instant decision, thus, cannot emanate from his level. The decision to remove independent directors on the PSU boards appointed by the previous government is in absolute dichotomy to the views of the Hon’ble PM. I’m intrigued what could be the level where this controversial decision has been taken in the government.”

Sharma said he found it difficult to reconcile to the letdown treatment given to him by the government and offered to resign from various committees and boards of other companies. Sharma is on the boards of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation Ltd and Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. He is also the chairman of Quality Review Board of Institute of Cost Accountants and a member in the Vijay Kelkar committee on energy security. In July, the NDA government had appointed him chairman of the Expert Committee for Review of Cost Records and Audit Rules.

“As a logical analogy, do I need to suo moto resign from these boards/committees/task forces also on moral grounds, or await orders of the government to remove me from these positions?” he said in the letter.

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