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DRDO chief removed, Parrikar justifies action

DRDO chief removed, Parrikar justifies action

India Blooms News Service | | 14 Jan 2015, 02:04 pm
New Delhi, Jan 14 (IBNS): The Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre on Tuesday abruptly removed Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Avinash Chander making way for a “younger scientist” to take charge.

“The DRDO chief’s tenure had ended in November last year. The last cabinet had given him extension for three years on contract. I thought a very senior position should not be on contract,” Defence minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters outside Parliament on Wednesday.

He said someone younger is required to head the India’s top defence research organization.

“I have recommended that I do not want this position to be held by a person who is on contract. So there is no controversy,” Parrikar said.

Chander’s removal was executed by a cabinet committee on appointments, headed by PM Modi, 15 months before his contract was to terminate. His removal is reportedly without explanation to him. He is likely to be replaced by director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Sekhar Basu, 62.

Media reports quoting Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said there was no “ulterior motives” behind the removal.

The DRDO chief’s contract, extended in November to May, 2015, was terminated on Tuesday. He came to work as usual on Wednesday saying he never received any official notice on his removal which was cleared by an appointments panel led by the PM.

According to media reports, no reason was given for the sacking of the country’s one of the finest missile scientists - often known as the “Agni man”. He has been instrumental behind the long-range Agni series missile programmes and all defence technology related issues in the country.

Chander is also the scientific adviser to the Defence Minister.

Earlier in August last year, PM Modi had criticized the “chalta hai (laid back)” attitude at a DRDO function which is being considered as a reason behind the unceremonious removal of its chief.