The Supreme Court on Friday directed the government to file the CBI report on the probe into alleged irregularities committed by suspended Prasar Bharati CEO B. S. Lalli in running the public broadcaster.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice S. H. Kapadia sought the report within six weeks.
It also asked Mr. Lalli to file his response in four weeks on the statement of evidence filed by the government on alleged irregularities committed by him in running Prasar Bharati.
The court granted another four weeks to the government to file its rejoinder to the response of Mr. Lalli and posted the matter after eight weeks.
The Supreme Court had on February 14 initiated proceedings on a Presidential reference for Mr. Lalli’s removal and asked the Centre to place evidence of alleged irregularities committed by him.
The court had also asked the government to file a statement of facts relating to Mr. Lalli’s irregularities and asked the former public broadcaster chief to respond to it.
Senior Advocate K. K. Venugopal, appearing for Mr. Lalli, had urged the court to expeditiously hear the reference in view of his retirement in December this year.
Mr. Lalli, a 1971-batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, was suspended last December.
President Pratibha Patil had on December 21 last ordered Mr. Lalli’s suspension and made a reference to the apex court for his removal on the recommendation of the government.
According to the Prasar Bharati Act, the chairman or a member of Prasar Bharati can be removed only by an order of the President on the ground of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court holds an inquiry following a reference to it.
Mr. Lalli, 67, was suspended after allegations were levelled against him for financial and administrative irregularities in award of a contract for broadcast of the Commonwealth Games to U.K.-based firm SIS Live.
Prasar Bharati was formed in 1997 as a public service broadcaster. This is the first time that its CEO faces the prospect of being removed from the post.
Mr. Lalli, who had assumed the CEO’s post in December 2006, was indicted by the Central Vigilance Commission which accused him of breach of parliamentary privilege, giving undue favours to some broadcast companies and financial mismanagement.
Reacting to the Presidential reference, Mr. Lalli had said that “a lot of intrigue and mischief” was going on within the organisation against him that was “abetted and encouraged” by powerful elements from outside.