Ashok Patnaik is NATGRID chief

The NDA government appointed a serving Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer Ashok Patnaik as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), one of the most ambitious intelligence projects, which failed to take off during United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule.

Manmohan’s son-in-law

The appointment of Mr. Patnaik, a 1983-batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, who also happens to be the son-in-law of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is being seen as the government’s effort to revive the project, which was conceived in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The NATGRID is a centralised agency which stores sensitive personal information on citizens from almost two dozen agencies to be made available for counter-terror investigations.

Mr. Patnaik is currently serving as Additional Director in the IB and he will continue to hold this post till his superannuation in 2018.

While the clearance for Rs.3,400-crore project from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) came in 2011, execution of the project slowed down after the exit of Home Minister P. Chidambaram in July 2012. There are around 70 personnel, drawn from both the government and private sectors, in the NATGRID.

The appointment in the post of CEO, which has been lying vacant for several months, came a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the working of the NATGRID.

Last year, the government advertised for the post of NATGRID CEO and even invited applications from private players.