New Delhi: A day after the Centre removed the chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Avinash Chander, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday justified the government's decision.
Parrikar said that Chander, whose contract term still had 15 months left, was sacked on his recommendation.
“The DRDO chief's post should be held by a young person and not by someone who is on contract,” the Defence Minister said, justifying the decision.
“His tenure ended in November (last year). After that he has been on contract,” Parrikar was quoted as saying by news agencies.
"At these senior positions, they should not be on contract. There are so many eligible, (someone) should be brought among them," he said.
The minister maintained that there was no controversy in this decision.
"I had recommended that this position should not be held by a person on contract. We should introduce in scientific world, slightly younger generation," he told reporters outside the North Block.
Asked who will head the DRDO, he said the senior-most person of the cluster head will hold the post temporarily.
"We will find out someone good from the DRDO, who has the urge for development," he said.
Asked if the sudden termination of Chander without informing him was right, Parrikar said, "I also got the information from you, from paper and TV".
Reacting on the development, Navy Chief Admiral Robin Dhowan today only said, “I think that's the government's decision.”
Earlier, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh had demanded that the government explain its decision.
"Avinash Chander DRDO Chief dismissed 15 months before his term expired. Would Government please explain? (sic)" Singh tweeted.
The Appointments Committee of Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had "approved the termination" of the contract of Avinash Chander with effect from January 31.
Chander, who was Secretary, Defence Research and Development cum Director General, DRDO and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, retired on November 30 last on attaining 64 years of age and was given a contract for 18 months till May 31 next year.
Chander had joined DRDO in 1972 after completing graduation in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.
He is known to be the chief architect of Agni series of ballistic missile systems.