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 Up loaded on Friday December 31, 2010

Prasar Bharati board to finalise interim arrangements to manage pubcaster.



The board of Prasar Bharati is expected to meet next week to take a final decision on interim measures to run Prasar Bharati, following the suspension of its chief executive officer BS Lalli.

Lalli was suspended pending a detailed inquiry by a Supreme Court judge into financial irregularities by him.

Prasar Bharati sources told indiantelevision.com that the meeting may take place on 3 January.

Senior Ministry sources had earlier told indiantelevision.com that although the pubcaster had been asked to be run by a three member committee comprising Lalli, Member (Finance) LC Jain and Member (Personnel) V Shivakumar, the Ministry was not in favour of leaving the day-to-day administration to the two members.

The sources also said they were not in favour of the Prasar Bharati chairman Mrinal Pande managing the pubcaster since she is not a full-time member of the pubcaster.

It is understood that the Ministry has given certain alternatives to the board, including the possibility of a senior official of the Ministry being deputed to manage the affairs of the public service broadcaster.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil had given her approval earlier this month to a reference in this regard sent by the Ministry through the Prime Minister's office. The President had earlier this month accepted a reference from the Prime Minister for an inquiry against Lalli, and directed that a Supreme Court judge be appointed for this purpose.

No person can be appointed CEO pending the inquiry, according to legal experts. The Apex Court has not so far named any judge to conduct a detailed inquiry into the financial irregularities for which Lalli was found guity by the Central Vigilance Commission.

Lalli, who became CEO in December 2006, is a 1971 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service from Uttar Pradesh. He had succeeded KS Sarma, who had completed his term in June 2006.

The CVC in its report on 16 November had established five of the seven charges against Lalli. The charges were related to contracts for management of advertisement revenue arising from the telecast of cricket matches on Doordarshan during 2007; the non-telecast by Doordarshan of T-20 cricket World Cup matches held in South Africa in September 2007; engagement of legal entities to represent Prasar Bharati; purchase of radio broadcasting rights for 13 cricket series held during 2007-09; and hiring of transport and accommodation for the conduct of the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune in 2008.

According to Section 4 of the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India Act) 1990, the Chairman and the other Members, except theex-officio Members, the Nominated Member and the elected Members, can be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Rajya Sahha Chairman (Vice-President), the Chairman of the Press Council of India, and one nominee of the President of India.

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