Two directors and multiple executive director level officers of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) were suspended after the Lokpal concluded there were discrepancies in commercial dealings at the public sector undertaking (PSU).
A company statement said the Steel Ministry suspended V S Chakravarthy, Director (Commercial), and A K Tulsiani, Director (Finance). In compliance with instructions from the centre, SAIL also placed 26 Below Board Level officials of the Company on suspension with immediate effect.
“The issue pertains to some investigations being carried out as per directions of Lokpal,” SAIL said without sharing any more details. A company representative aware of the move told ET there are probes underway in a commercial matters and all officers associated with the concerned deals have been suspended pending investigation.
The steel ministry also suspended V Suresh, Director (Commercial) at NMDC, another PSU under its administrative control.
A Lokpal order from earlier this month found discrepancies in SAIL’s dealings with Venkatesh Infra Projects, and Avon Steel Industries. It was alleged that the steel sold by SAIL to Venkatesh was significantly below the price offered to other companies. Further, SAIL’s dealings with Avon were fraught with lack of due diligence. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been directed to probe SAIL’s dealings with these two companies.
SAIL has also been directed by the Lokpal to “formulate a clear and unambiguous policy with regard to Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) pricing and relaxation, with a clear-cut hierarchical structure, so that responsibility and accountability can be fixed and loss to SAIL can be avoided.”
Commenting on the development, Chairman, SAIL, Amarendu Prakash said, “Company’s business is being carried out as usual and it is not going to impact the performance of the company. We are dedicated to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance and ethical conduct.”