CVC indicts Rly Board chairman post contender

In a new twist to the process of appointment to Railway Board, which is already mired in controversy, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has indicted a senior official who was one of the contenders for the post of the chairman of the Board.

The CVC found R S Virdi, general manager of Northeast Frontier Railway, guilty in a 10-year-old vigilance case that involved procurement of perfume dispensers thereby putting an end to his chances of running for the chairman's post. According to the CVC, Virdi's the then deputy, D C Sharma, was also guilty in the case that was forwarded to the commission for its views few months ago.

Sources said an aggrieved Virdi met Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge recently to seek his intervention. But the minister told him that he would be guided by the advice of the incumbent acting-chairman of the Board, Arunendra Kumar, as per the norm. Kumar also happens to be one of the contenders for the post.

The file proposing names for the appointment of chairman, including that of Kumar, has already been sent to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

A section of Railway officials, however, blamed the Railway Board for handling the matter in a manner that deliberately ended the progress Virdi's career who was tipped to take over as the chairman until few months ago.

"The 10-year-old vigilance case was dug up intentionally to scuttle his chances even though the then chairman, Vinay Mittal and the Railways' own Vigilance Directorate had objected to it as it had wrapped up the case and exonerated one of them," said a railway official.

Virdi has been getting timely promotions in the past 10 years. It is also being said that by indicting Virdi, the CVC has not followed its own manual of seeking the official's reply about the charges levelled against him.

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