Supreme Court asks Centre to file affidavit against Lalli

Monday, February 14, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court on Monday sought evidence from the Central Government on alleged irregularities committed by former Prasar Bharati CEO B S Lalli in running the public broadcaster on the basis of which he was suspended in December last year.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia asked the government to file a statement of facts relating to Lalli’s suspension within four weeks and asked the former Prasar Bharati CEO to respond to it within next three weeks.

The bench passed the order on a Presidential reference to sack Lalli.
Lalli urged the court to expeditiously hear the reference in view of his retirement in December this year.

Earlier on December 21, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil ordered Lalli’s suspension.

President Patil had earlier in December given her assent for a Supreme Court inquiry into the financial mismanagement charges against the Prasar Bharati CEO. President Patil’s assent came on a reference made by the government.

Lalli, a 1971 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, was indicted by the Central Vigilance Commission for breach of parliamentary privilege, showing favours to some broadcast companies and committing financial mismanagement.

The allegations against him included the controversial decision to give a contract for broadcast of the Commonwealth Games to a UK-based firm SIS Live.

According to the Prasar Bharati Act, the Chairman or a member of the organisation can only be removed by an order of the President on the ground of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court holds an inquiry following a reference to it.

The V K Shunglu Committee had earlier in the first of a series of reports submitted to the Prime Minister’’s Office and Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar recommended that criminal cases be registered against B S Lalli and Director General, Doordarshan, Aruna Sharma for allegedly causing an estimated Rs 135-crore loss to the exchequer for granting CWG broadcasting rights to UK-based SIS Live. (ANI)

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