Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said there was no controversy in the sacking of Avinash Chander as DRDO chief and it was he who recommended that the position should be held by someone from a “slightly younger generation” and not by someone on contract.
Noting that the tenure of Chander had ended in November, he said it was extended on contractual basis due to the previous government’s decision.
“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 outside the North Block.
Asked who will head DRDO, he said the senior-most person of the cluster head will hold the post temporarily.
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”.
The Appointments Committee of Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last night “approved termination” of the contract of 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, had retired on November 30 last on attaining 64 years of age and was given a contract for 18 months till May 31 next year.
The move comes against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment last year that the ‘laid back’ attitude in the DRDO will not be tolerated.
Chander joined DRDO in 1972 after completing graduation in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. He was the chief architect of Agni series of ballistic missile systems.
Development of Agni range of missiles under a highly-restrictive international control regimes was possible only due to his perspective planning and relentless efforts, DRDO officials said.