KOCHI: In a dramatic development, the Centre on Thursday removed Jaiveer Srivastava, who has been facing various corruption charges, from the post of CMD of Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT), hours before the crucial board meeting of the PSU in Delhi.
Meanwhile, A B Khare, who is currently holding the post of CMD of Madras Fertilisers Ltd (MFL), was given the additional charge of heading the Udyogamandal-based company.
Khare flew down to Kochi from Chennai on Wednesday night and held a meeting with general managers of FACT to take stock of the situation, before flying to Delhi to attend the FACT board meeting on Thursday afternoon.
The board, which met under the new CMD in Delhi, also decided to take disciplinary action against four other senior officials of FACT - Joint General Manager (Marketing)I S Ambika, Deputy General Manager (Corporate Finance) Sreenath Kamath, Chief Sales Manager (Caprolactum) Daniel Madhukar and Deputy Chief Sales Manager (Marketing Operations) Panchanan Poddar.
Last week, the CBI had raided the residences and offices of Srivastava and four other FACT officials as part of investigation into alleged corruption in the sale of gypsum.
FACT Chief Vigilance Officer J Vinayan, whose report to the Ministry of Fertilizers and Chemicals gave a damning indictment of the company’s various contracts and decisions, made a one-hour presentation before the board, following which a half-an-hour discussion took place.
Vinayan’s presentation laid bare the FACT management’s various questionable deals, including collusion with outside agencies to allow cartelisation of the tender for gypsum sales, in favour of Mumbai-based NSS Trade. It was found that the other two companies that participated in the tender - Nagarjuna Agro Chemicals and Kia Biotech - were having the same address and quoted prices lower than those quoted by NSS Trade.
A person who attended the board meeting told Express that the gypsum tender would have to be cancelled in the wake of the corruption case. “All the controversial decisions taken by Srivastava, including promotions ignoring seniority and transfers, will be reviewed,” he said.
The meeting was attended by the two joint secretaries on FACT’s board - S K Lohani and A K Padhi - and independent directors K P S Nair and Murali S.
Ousting a sitting CMD is unprecedented in the history of FACT. Trade union leaders have not covered themselves in glory in the issue. “It’s shameful that the union leaders could not ‘red-signal’ or act as whistle-blowers when Srivastava was running riot at FACT, which is bleeding with losses,” said an employee who wished not to be quoted.
When contacted, CITU leader Chandran Pillai defended himself saying the unions had been pointing out the misdeeds of Srivastava.