Post-Lalli suspension, Prasar Bharati looks to interim set-up

December 22nd, 2010 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) A day after the suspension of Prasar Bharati CEO B.S. Lalli, the information and broadcasting ministry was looking for placing a senior bureaucrat to manage the public broadcaster.The ministry is exploring the possibility of appointing a senior bureaucrat at the level of additional secretary in charge of the Prasar Bharati after Lalli’s suspension over allegations of financial mismanagement, government sources said here Wednesday.

The other option is to let members of the Prasar Bharati Board run the the day-to-day affairs of the broadcaster, sources said.

Ending two weeks of suspense, President Pratibha Patil Tuesday cleared the suspension of Lalli, pending completion of an inquiry into the allegations of financial irregularity against him.

Earlier, Patil had given her assent to a Supreme Court-led inquiry, the first step in the process of removal of a Prasar Bharati CEO.

Lalli, a 1971 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, was appointed CEO in December 2006. Subsequently, he was at the receiving end of some of his colleagues on the board, who accused him of financial impropriety.

Lalli was accused of favouring specific private companies in bidding processes, and of manipulating a decision that led to the inaugural Twenty20 Cricket World Cup not being shown on Doordarshan. The decision was a flagrant violation of laws that make it mandatory for private broadcasters to share with Prasar Bharati the feed of all sporting events of national importance.

In July, Lalli was indicted by the Central Vigilance Commission for breach of parliamentary privilege, showing favours to some broadcast companies, and committing financial mismanagement. Lalli has rejected charges of financial irregularity, saying “a lot of intrigue and mischief” has been going on against him and hoped that the probe would present the “true picture”.

A Prasar Bharati CEO is appointed by a panel which includes the prime minister, the Rajya Sabha chairman and the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.

Prasar Bharati is the public broadcaster of the country and has All India Radio and Doordarshan as its components.

Under the Prasar Bharati Act, the CEO can be removed only after charges have been established by the Supreme Court through a probe, which has to be referred to the Supreme Court by the president of India.

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