December 31, 2014, and that was done “on functional grounds and in public interest”. Though the space secretary’s post is not a politically sensitive one, an extension beyond August 29, when the new government is likely to take over next month, may kick up another row. The move is significant in the backdrop of reports that Union government had initiated plans to rush through some major appointments.
Signed by ACC secretary BP Sharma, the April 22 order said: “The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved the extension of tenure of Dr K Radhakrishnan, secretary, department of space and chairman of Space Commission beyond August 29, 2014 and till December 31, 2014, on functional grounds and in public interest.” The ACC, which takes appointment decisions on senior officials, is headed by prime minister himself.
An electrical engineering and IIM-Bangalore product, 64-year-old Radhakrishnan began his career as an avionics engineer in 1971 in ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum.
In ISRO’s official website, Radhakrishnan is described as “a technocrat par excellence; a dynamic and result-oriented Manager with very fine personal and inter-personal qualities; an astute Institution-builder with a strategic vision; an able Administrator with a positive attitude; and an inspiring Leader credited with nurturing leadership skills in the younger generation.”
There is no doubt about Radhakrishnan's credentials as an administrator. And the appointment order says the extension was necessitated by public interest, and it was done on functional grounds. But the order did not explain what were those “public interests” and “functional grounds”?