AAI chief RK Srivastava shown the door
In a sudden move, Airports Authority of India (AAI) chairman R K Srivastava was on Thursday removed from the post by the government, nearly 15 months after he was brought at the helm for a five-year term.
A 1984-batch Jharkhand-cadre IAS officer, 58-year-old Ravindra Kumar Srivastava had taken charge in January last year. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma confirmed the move to replace the AAI Chairman.
Sharma said from Gorakhpur (UP) that the government will find a suitable replacement for Srivastava soon. However, Sharma did not give the reason for the decision to remove Srivastava. A top PMO source confirmed that they had received numerous complaints of impropriety against the AAI chief.
The move to replace Sharma comes at a time when AAI has sought documents from its joint venture partners – GMR and GVK – for a CAG audit of the books of accounts of the Delh and Mumbai airports. This is not the first time that an AAI Chairman has been shown the door. In January 2014, the then UPA government had abruptly removed VP Agarwal.
Sources said Arun Kumar, who is presently Joint Secretary for airports in the Civil Aviation Ministry, is likely to be given the additional charge of AAI Chairman. According to sources, Srivastava is likely to be sent back to his parent cadre. Srivastava took charge on January 2, 2015 and his appointment was announced by the government in December 2014. His tenure was for five years.
AAI manages 125 airports, including 18 international aerodromes, 78 domestic ones and and 26 civil enclaves at defence airfields. It also provides air navigation services. Set up under an Act of Parliament, AAI came into being in April 1995 by merging erstwhile National Airports Authority and International Airports Authority of India. AAI which holds 26 per cent stake each in the two joint venture companies – DIAL and MIAL – has invoked its right under a particular clause of the Operations, Management and Development Agreement (OMDA) while asking the public accounts watchdog CAG to audit the books of accounts of the two companies.
“AAI has appointed CAG as its representative to scrutinise the books of accounts of DIAL and Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) to ensure that due government share is accruing to AAI,” Sharma had informed the Lok Sabha last month.