NEW DELHI: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is investigating the allegations of bypassing the experience norms for the promotion of 55 internal candidates from deputy general manager rank to general managers in 2018.
Union highways minister Nitin Gadkari in his recent speech at an NHAI function had raised questions on the promotion of officials.
The highways authority had set up a panel in October 2018 to look into the allegations after two complaints were referred from the PMO.
According to details accessed by TOI, the NHAI had invited applications for only 20 GM (technical) posts in January 2018. It had received 230 applications including 66 internal candidates. Four months later the executive committee of NHAI approved creation of additional 28 GM (technical) posts.
Though the eligibility conditions in the advertisement for promotion of internal candidates specified five years service in the grade of DGM (technical), the cadre controlling authority decided later that such service period should be three years for internal promotion, which was a condition in the old recruitment rules.
Subsequently, the selection committee recommended the appointment of 24 internal candidates as GM (technical). But barely two days later following a letter from the ministry flagging the concerns of some already serving officers, the screening committee examined the applications of 42 officers who were earlier found ineligible.
Finally, on April 27, 2018, the selection committee approved promotion of 55 internal candidates.
The committee constituted to investigate the charges of malpractices was reconstituted thrice as some of the panel members were repatriated to their parent departments after completing the tenure.
One member of the panel submitted his report to the NHAI flagging how the promotions were illegal as this bypassed the prevalent recruitment rules, which was advertised while inviting applications. He has also flagged how the selection process of more candidates without issuing fresh advertisement was a gross violation of norms.
Meanwhile, members of the selection committee have submitted their response to the vigilance wing of NHAI. One of them said the selection process was done as per the norms.

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