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DRDO chief eased out to bring in young blood

The Defence Minister on Wednesday claimed that the move was an attempt to bring a young scientist to head the organization. Ruling out any ulterior motives, Parrikar said that it was because of his recommendation that Chander was removed. “Yes, it was my recommendation. The DRDO chief’s post should be held by a young person and not by someone on contract,” Parrikar told the media persons outside  North Block.

On Tuesday, Chander, a known missile scientist and scientific advisor to the defence minister, was sacked, almost 16 months before his tenure approved by the previous UPA regime and endorsed by the NDA government was to end. Parrikar said, “He retired in November (last year). After that he has been on contract. At these senior positions, they should not be on contract. There are so many eligible, (someone) should be brought among them.”

“I had recommended that this position should not be held by a person on contract. We should inject fresh blood into the scientific world,” he said, while revealing that a senior-most person of the cluster head would hold the post temporarily. “We are looking for someone efficient from DRDO. The person has to be passionate about development and have a zeal for innovation,” he added.

On the embarrassment to Chander by terminating him without informing him in advance, Parrikar said, “Even, I came to know from you, from paper and TV.” The Appointments Committee of Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday “approved the termination” of the contract of Chander with effect from January 31.

Chander, who was Secretary, Defence Research and Development cum Director General, DRDO and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, retired on November 30 last on attaining 64 years of age and was given a contract for 18 months till May 31 next year. Chander had joined DRDO in 1972 after completing graduation in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. He is considered the chief architect of Agni series of ballistic missile systems.
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