CRB race, scuttling begins

With Mr Vinay Mittal, Chairman, Railway Board (CRB), retiring on June 30, a move appears afoot to use the vigilance wing to scuttle the chances of some contenders for the top job in the railways. The CRB is learnt to have written to the adviser (vigilance) suggesting that the role of Mr R.S. Virdi, in the running for CRB, be probed in a case that is a decade old.

Curiously, Mr Mittal had chosen to take charge of the vigilance wing when he became CRB even though as per norms it is supposed to come under a Member (Staff). Mr Virdi was then Executive Director in Cochin, Southern Zone.  At present, Mr Virdi is General Manager, Northeast Frontier Railway. What has set tongues wagging is the timing of the suggestion for a vigilance probe in a case dating back 10 years.

If a vigilance enquiry is started, Mr Virdi could end up a loser as the rules bar officials from promotion during the pendency of such a probe. “It’s an age-old method to use vigilance to kill the promotion prospects of officials,” remarked one official.

Mr Virdi was senior to then director D.C. Sharma, against whom a vigilance probe was ordered in connection with the procurement of autogenitors (perfume dispensers) for use in AC coaches. “Mr Sharma was exonerated in the enquiry and later got two promotions.