New Delhi: In a bizarre case, government counsels on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that R S P Sinha is still the CMD of telecom PSU MTNL despite his reported resignation earlier this week inviting some strong comments from the Bench.
Sinha had reportedly put in his papers on January 11 after he was understood to have been advised by the Telecom Secretary P J Thomas but counsels of DoT and MTNL said he was still in office as per government order, the validity of which was questioned by a division bench of the High Court.
>"How can you continue? ... and from whose authoritiy you are continuing, you are making a mockery of the system", Delhi High Court Division Bench, headed by Chief Justice A P Shah, said and stayed the circular.
The issue came up during hearing of a case alleging favoratism by Sinha to telecom vendor Motorola in an equipment procurement contract in 1999.
When contacted, Telecom Minister A Raja said: "His legitimate tenure is over... Usually ACC gives extension for 3 months/6 months or till successor is found. But in this case the extension has not come."
Citing the order of Appointments Committee of Cabinet, the Bench questioned an executive order of January 8 by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology asking sinha to continue till further orders.
Delhi HC questions DoT on MTNL CMD Sinha`s extension "When ACC put time in its order (till January 9) and then how can DoT put it forward," the court said adding that "there is no sanctity of this order (DoT circular). There would be stay on the order passed by DoT giving extension to Sinha."
The court also did not agree with the submissions of Sinha, that ACC extension was adhoc only and ACC would have to decide on his term on ultimate basis, that is till September 2011.
Sinha`s name was forwarded to ACC for his extension till 2011 but in the wake of a CBI`s special court direction to reopen and probe afresh the corruption cases against him, the ACC deferred its decision till the outcome of the case.
DoT`s counsel said that the circular was issued only to make a stop gap arrangement as there would be a vacuum if Sinha leaves.
On this, the court said, "there would be no vacuum. He is only a senior director and there are other persons also".
The court`s full order will come tomorrow on this issue, the Chief Justice said.
The high court is hearing a case on a PIL filed by a NGO Telecom Watchdog alleging that Sinha was favouring Motorola in an equipment procurement case of 1999.
The case will come up for hearing on January 22.