Image: BJP's national spokesperson Sambit Patra/Twitter
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday posted for November 1, a plea challenging appointment of BJP's national spokesperson Sambit Patra as an independent director on the board of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Ltd.
The public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO Energy Watchdog through advocate Prashant Bhushan, also challenged the appointment of Shashi Shanker as Chairman and Managing Director of ONGC.
Being an active member of the ruling BJP, Patra cannot play the role of an Independent Director or non-official director in ONGC as it would be a violation of the Companies Act, Bhushan alleged in the plea, adding that selection process was also flawed as his name did not appear in the databank of eligible persons for the post.
While seeking cancellation of Shanker's appointment, the NGO asked the court to set aside September 25 and 29 orders appointing him and Patra respectively to the ONGC board.
The plea stated that in February 2015 he was suspended by the vigilance department of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for alleged gross misconduct in connection with a tender matter while he was Director (Technology and Field Services) in ONGC.
The NGO contended that Shanker's suspension was revoked in July 2015 citing the Supreme Court's general observation that a suspended officer should be reinstated if an agency fails to file a chargesheet within 90 days.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) is an Indian multinational oil and gas company. It has headquarter in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
ONGC is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of the Government of India (GOI), under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
ONGC is India's largest oil and gas exploration and production company and produces around 77% of India's crude oil and around 62% of country's natural gas.