Decision on Lalli in a day or two: Soni

New Delhi: The government is deciding on steps, including possible suspension, against Prasar Bharti Chief Executive Officer B.S. Lalli following the go-ahead for a Supreme Court inquiry against him on charges of financial mismanagement, a minister said Friday.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said her ministry is looking at the Prasar Bharti Act to take the necessary steps following the presidential reference for an apex court inquiry into charges of financial mismanagement against Lalli.

“The file reached the ministry through the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) yesterday night. The secretary and senior officials are looking at it to decide on the steps that have to be taken under the Prasar Bharti Act,” Soni told reporters on the sidelines of a function to release the annual calendar of the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP).

Answering queries, Soni did not set a time-frame for a decision but indicated that it would be taken in two-three days.

She said following the presidential reference the ministry was also looking at the rules in the Act relating to suspension pending an inquiry against Lalli.

Soni said that whatever steps need to be taken under the Act were being looked at by the ministry.

President Pratibha Patil Thursday gave her assent for a Supreme Court inquiry into charges of financial mismanagement against Lalli.

Patil’s assent came on a reference made by the government.

Lalli, a 1971 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, was indicted by the Central Vigilance Commission for breach of parliamentary privilege, showing favours to some broadcast companies, and committing financial mismanagement.

On Thursday, Lalli rejected charges of financial irregularity, saying “a lot of intrigue and mischief” has been going on against him and hoped that the probe would present the “true picture”.

Lalli assumed charge as CEO in December 2006.

A Prasar Bharti CEO is appointed by a panel which includes the prime minister, the Rajya Sabha chairman and the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.

Prasar Bharti is the public broadcaster of the country and has All India Radio and Doordarshan as its components.

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