Veerappa Moily proposal for Sudhir Vasudeva cast aside, Dinesh K Sarraf new ONGC chief

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SummaryRejecting Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily's proposal to give Sudhir Vasudeva a post-retirement extension, Dinesh K Sarraf was today appointed the new head of Oil and Natural Gas Corp, the nation's most profitable firm.

Secretary, Petroleum, referred the matter back to the DoPT with complete vigilance profile of Shri Sudhir Vasudeva with a request to place the matter before the ACC for decision, as deemed appropriate," the statement said.

Earlier in the day, opposition BJP and the Left parties slammed Moily for seeking an extension for Vasudeva without CVC clearance saying this is the second instance of the UPA government ignoring CVC in appointment to key positions.

Earlier this month, Archana Ramasundaram, a 1980-batch IPS officer from Tamil Nadu, was appointed by the government as Additional Director in CBI apparently ignoring the anti-corruption watchdog's recommendation.

On November 4, 2013, Moily wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking one-year post-retirement extension for Vasudeva.

Sources said while the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) asked the Oil Ministry to submit a proper proposal, government headhunter PESB selected Sarraf to succeed Vasudeva on February 28.

Sarraf, who was previously Director (Finance) in ONGC, got CVC clearance, but the same for Vasudeva could not be obtained.

Both the names-- Vasudeva and Sarraf-- were forwarded to ACC by the Oil Ministry. When the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) asked the ministry about CVC clearance of Vasudeva, it was told that it will be obtained post-facto.

Prior to that, CVC had on February 10 written to the Oil Ministry saying: "There are a total number of six complaints/ cases against Vasudeva which are pending in the ministry and are yet to be taken to their logical conclusion... No recommendation of PESB has been furnished by the ministry with regard to proposed extension of his tenure and the period of extension."

Following the CVC letter, Oil Secretary Vivek Rae noted on files that it was "clearly not possible to obtain vigilance clearance for Vasudeva in the next few days. The only alternative is to grant him extension, pending vigilance clearance, in case ACC deems it fit to do so".

OVL, which since inception had invested USD 17 billion in 32 assets in 15 countries till 2011, has struck over USD 11 billion worth deals in the past one year under Sarraf.

In August last year, Sarraf led OVL in buying US energy major Anadarko Petroleum Corp's 10 per cent stake in a giant Mozambique gas field for USD 2.64 billion. This deal came on top of the USD 2.475 billion deal announced in June to buy Videocon's 10 per cent stake in the same field, which may hold as much as 65

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