Arun Bhatnagar, Prasar Bharati chairman quits

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Prasar Bharati
New Delhi, May 27: Arun Bhatnagar, the chairman of Prasar Bharati, on Tuesday, May 26, resigned alleging that the 'top management' was functioning in a wrong manner. The board members however resolved to refer the matter of alleged financial irregularities by CEO B S Lalli to the Central Vigilance Commission(CVC).

"I wanted to leave Prasar Bharati for quite some time because of the thoroughly unsatisfactory working of the top management," said Bhatnagar after confirming the resignation news. Bhatnagar, who was appointed as chairman a year ago for a period of three years, has sent his resignation to the PM.

The split in the 10-member board began about three months ago over minutes of a meeting held in Jan 2009 with Lalli taking exception to the draft minutes circulated by Bhatnagar which he termed as 'inaccurate, slanted and having extraneous material.'

Some members of a dividend board levelled allegations against the CEO and in a meeting on May 18, 2009. According to the meeting, there were serious allegations of rampant financial irregularities and break down in the functioning of the financial system. Members informed that there were an urgent need to review the scheme of delegation of powers.

The board members were hoping that I&B ministry would intervene to solve the issues between the warring members. But so far there has been no direction given by the ministry. A PIL is filed in Delhi High Court over the issue and the hearing is in process.

In an affidavit before the HC, Bhatnagar sought an independent, comprehensive and time-bound inquiry into the state of affairs in the public broadcaster. Bhatnagar had first tendered his resignation in March but the government had not taken a decision on it. Now, he has sent the resignation to the PM, saying that he was 'compelled to quit well before the expiry of his term on April 30, 2011'.

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