New Delhi: The government is contemplating to bifurcate the portfolio of DRDO chief as well as Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, which at present rests with a single person.
The move, if cleared, would see the appointment of two people - one as new Secretary Department of Defence R&D and another as the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister.
Currently, both the positions are held by Avinash Chander whose contract as the DRDO chief was terminated by the government with effect from January 31.
“We are thinking about splitting the dual position of a DRDO chief and Scientific Advisor to the Raksha Mantri. There should be two separate people for these two roles. Nothing has been finalised as yet,” a top government official said.
The official maintained that Chander has “not been sacked” and has been given time till January 31 and underlined that he will continue to be DRDO chief till the last date.
He said Chander would hand over his post to the senior-most person of the cluster head in DRDO who will hold the post temporarily, as told by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar yesterday.
Asked if the matter could have been better handled and if the DRDO chief could have been asked to resign, the official said it could have been done.
The sudden termination of Chander's contract on Tuesday night with effect from January 31 this year has triggered a controversy.
He had retired on November 30 last on attaining the age of 64 years and was given a contract for 18 months till May 31 next year as decided by the previous government.
Even though Parrikar had said he had recommended the step to terminate the contract, Parrikar maintained he “got the information from you, from paper and TV”, when asked if the sudden termination of Chander without informing him was right.
The Minister had argued that he had made the recommendation and the decision was taken by the Appointment Committee of Cabinet.