Vinod Behl, New Delhi
K.S. Sarma, former additional secretary in the Human Resource Development Ministry, is set to take over as the permanent CEO of Prasar Bharati Corporation, replacing Anil Baijal, additional secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting who has been doubling up as part time CEO of Prasar Bharati for the last one year.
Sarma, a 1968 batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre who had earlier served as Director General Doordarshan was selected for the coveted post last month by a panel comprising Vice President Krishan Kant, President''s nominee and eminent journalist TVR Shenoy and Press Council chairman Jayachandra Reddy. He has already been relieved from HRD Ministry.
According to sources in I & B Ministry, the delay in his joining Prasar Bharati is because of some pending issues related to cadre and switch over from a government department to a corporation. The sources say that Sarma is likely to join as CEO within a week after these issues are settled.
Sarma had made unsavoury headlines last year after his name figured in Doordarshan''s marketing rights scam of 1997 French Open and Wimbledon and telecast rights scam of Independence Cricket Cup 1997 and World Cup Cricket 1999. CBI had registered cases against Sarma and some other senior Doordarhsan officials on the basis of report filed by Arun Aggarwal probe panel constituted in 1998 during the tenure of former Prasar Bharati CEO, O.P. Kejriwal.
Interestingly Sarma''s selection to the top post of Prasar Bharati came after he and some senior DD officials named in the marketing and telecast rights scams, were exonerated by the CBI. Sarma will be taking over as a full time CEO of Prasar Bharati Corporation, ever since the exit of S.S. Gill who served as full time CEO till 1998.
Significantly enough, Sarma''s appointment follows the induction of S.Y. Quraishi, former principal secretary to Haryana Chief Minster Om Prakash Chautala, as the full time DG, Doordarshan after a long time.
Much significance is being attached to the appointment of Sarma and Quraishi at this juncture when Doordarshan facing tough competition From rival channels is struggling hard to get viewership and commercial revenue. It''s expected that the full time appointments of Prasar Bharati and Doordarshan heads will bring much needed consistency and continuity in policy planning and execution with a view to revamp Doordarhsan.