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DRDO chief’s post should not be on contract basis: Parrikar

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said he had only recommended that Defence Research and Development Organisation chief Avinash Chander be relieved of his post, and that the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) had taken the decision to end his tenure, adding that he did not want someone on contract to hold such a senior position.

“The tenure of the DRDO chief would normally have ended in November, but the previous Union Cabinet had approved a three-year extension to his term, with the additional years being on a contract basis,” Parrikar told the media.

“I recommended that a person on contract should not be occupying such a senior position. This senior position should be filled by other eligible senior persons. There is no controversy here,” he added.

Parrikar further stated that at present, the vacant post will be filled by someone on a temporary basis till a permanent candidate is found.

“As of now the person to replace him has not been decided. We will fill the post temporarily by someone who has the urge for development,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan said that Chander’s dismissal was the government’s decision.

Earlier in the day, Chander had refused to comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s decision to abruptly dismiss him from the post of DRDO chief, 15 months before Chander’s contract was to end.

According to an official notification, the ACC approved the termination of the contract of Avinash Chander with effect from January 31.

Chander was Secretary, Defence Research and Development-cum- DRDO Director General, and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister.

He had retired on November 30 last year after he turned 64, but was given a contract for 18 months till May 31 next year.

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