The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked former Air India Chairperson and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav for allegedly violating promotion and appointment procedures, PTI reported on Wednesday, quoting unidentified agency officials.
The agency has also booked former Executive Director (Personnel) LP Nakhwa and former Additional General Managers (Operations) A Kathpalia, Amitabh Singh and Rohit Bhasin. The first information report has been registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
According to the agency’s first information report, Jadhav had in 2010 violated company procedure by setting up a panel to promote officers to the rank of general manager (operations). The three-member panel included Nakhwa, then Chief Operating Officer Gustav Baldauf, and then Executive Director (Operations) AS Soman.
Nakhwa, who was general manager (medical services), was promoted to executive director (medical services) after the post was upgraded as a temporary measure till August 31, 2009. The agency alleged that Nakhwa should have reverted to her position as general member starting September 2009 but she remained executive director, violating a directive issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on March 6, 2009. In its order, the ministry had annulled and reversed the irregular appointment.
Jadhav allegedly did not follow due procedure and regularised Nakhwa’s appointment as executive director with effect from April 1, 2010. However, a human resources sub-committee of the Air India board demoted Nakhwa to the post of general manager five months later.
“Therefore, the promotion panel so constituted by Arvind Jadhav for selecting suitable candidates for promotions to the post of GM [operations] should have been re-constituted in the wake of reversion of Nakhwa from executive director [medical services] to the rank of general manager,” the agency alleged in the FIR.
According to Air India’s promotion policy, members of a promotion panel should be preferably two levels above the post for which the selection is being made. The CBI said that although Nakhwa was not eligible to be on the panel, Jadhav violated procedure and nominated her.
The panel interviewed 15 candidates for the post of additional general manager (operations), and promoted five of them to general manager (operations). These included Additional General Mangers (Operations) A Kathpalia, Amitabh Singh, Rohit Bhasin, AK Gujaral and NK Beri.
According to the FIR, Kathpalia was given vigilance clearance even though there was a criminal case against him. Bhasin and Singh were cleared as well even though they had complaints pending against them.
“Giving vigilance clearance to both the officers having complaint pending against them is irregularity and misconduct on part of unknown officers of Air India who dealt with this matter,” said the CBI.