Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pillai’s US Comments: But bureaucrats call him ‘No non-sense officer”

AFTER a couple of months’ interval, here is yet another controversial straight talk from India’s home secretary and 1972 batch IAS, GK Pillai, forcing US establishment to react to his statements on India’s disappointment with US over non-sharing of information on Lashkar-e-Toiba operative David Coleman Headley, the main accursed of Mumbai terror attack two years ago.
Pillai’s straight talk and tough actions have earned him many an enemy both in political and business circle, but he is becoming an icon among bright young bureaucrats who would like to move up the ladder and make a difference to Indian babudom. Pillai’s earlier comments on Pakistan intelligence ISI’s role in Mumbai attack had virtually collapsed India-Pakistan talks at the level of external affairs ministers, but he earned accolade from a section of politicians and bureaucrats because he was armed with enough evidences and what he said was perceived to be accurate. In August, he openly gave instances how forest officials had developed close networks with Naxal, a statement which created tensions among Indian Forest Service officials.
But Pillai, who as commerce secretary pushed Special Economic Zones and became darling of India Inc., has lost popularity among corporate India thanks to his tough positioning against Blackberry-maker RIM and a few other tech companies. Yet, BoI team which met a number of IAS, IFS, IPS and IRS officers from cabinet secretariat, external affairs ministry, finance ministry etc. over the last one month has got one response. The bureaucrats irrespective of their services and cadres, have termed GK Pillai “a no non-sense officer”.
Regarding his latest salvo, the timing itself is controversial as US president Barack Obama is set to visit India in a week’s time. Pillai said India was disappointed because specific information after 26/11 would have helped Indian agencies apprehend Headley in India itself. Pillai’s comments forced US ambassador to India, Timothy J Roemer, say that US provided regular and consistent information to India both before and after the Mumbai attack.
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Action and Appointments
a) SK Roongta, former chairman, SAIL, has been appointed as non-official part-time director on the Board of Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) for a period of three years.
b) The Central Vigilance Commission advised imposition of major penalty against 86 officers including 27 from ministry of railways, 13 from Canara Bank, 11 from department of telecommunications, 8 from Central Board of Excise and Customs, 6 from State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, 4 from Delhi Development Authority and 3 from Employees Provident Fund Organization.
c) Lt Gen S Ravi Shankar, commissioned into Corps of Engineers (Madras Sappers) in 1972, has taken over as the Director General of Border Roads. A recipient of Vishisht Seva Medal, the General Officer is an alumnus of National Defence Academy Khadakvasla, Pune, Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, College of Military Engg, Pune, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and Army War College, Mhow.

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