Prez allows SC probe into Lalli charges

New Delhi: The President has given her assent for a Supreme Court inquiry into charges of financial mismanagement against controversial Prasar Bharti CEO B.S. Lalli, setting in motion the process for his removal from the post.

Official sources said President Pratibha Patil's assent came on a reference made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as required under the Prasar Bharti Act.

According to the Act, the Chairman or a Member of Prasar Bharti 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.

Pending inquiry, the chief executive officer can be placed under suspension as per the provisions of the Act.

Lalli, who assumed the CEO's office in December 2006, was indicted by the Central Vigilance Commission which accused him of breach of Parliamentary privilege, giving undue favours to some broadcast companies and financial mismanagement.

The Presidential reference to the apex court for instituting an inquiry into the charges against him sets in motion his removal process.

The controversial 1971 batch IAS officer of UP cadre, Lalli, 63, has been having a feud with the Prasar Bharti Board on running the organisation.

Efforts to contact Lalli did not succeed

Reacting to the presidential reference, BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said the action is "too late".

"It is too late. It is also part of the loot. We are saying it earlier also about CWG... one after another is happening," he told reporters outside Parliament.

"It is all because of the pressure by the Opposition in Parliament all these things are happening. Otherwise the government was totally unmoved," Naidu said and added "he (Lalli) should go if he has committed any mistake."

Welcoming the decision, SP leader Mohan Singh said "This is a good decision taken by the President we welcome it. We have raised it in the Rajya Sabha."

Singh said, "Even employees of Prasar Bharati had also launched agitation against his (Lalli) autocratic way of functioning. He was not listening to anybody."

Minister of State for Health and Trinamool leader Dinesh Trivedi said "I personally feel that this is a great opportunity where we can very seriously clean up the system."

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