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Strange case of Naresh Chandra
Naresh retains a key role with the government & also be affiliated to company boards, which amounts to a serious conflict of interest
Issue Date - 19/01/2012
Many a time, there have been reports of high level bureaucrats working with private companies during their service with the government. Surprisingly, the Government doesn’t deem it worth investigation. Consider Naresh Chandra, a high level bureaucrat, former IAS officer and senior adviser to the PM, who also served as India’s Home Secretary, Cabinet Secretary and Ambassador to US. He is connected to as many as 109 board members in 16 different organisations across 17 different industries, and is earning a total compensation of $817,305 annually at the age of 76, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Aren’t these serious conflicts of interest? That’s not all, while he is currently heading a task force created after the 26/11 tragedy to review national security; BAE Systems which wants to expand its business in India, has ‘coincidentally’ created a heavyweight advisory board including Chandra as an advisor. He is the person who chaired the CII Task Force on Corporate Governance and is also a non-executive advisory board member of the world’s leading liquor company Diageo, which was convicted by the US SEC for paying a whopping $1.7 million as bribe to various Indian government officials between 2003 and 2009, which finally yielded $11 million in profits to the firm. Naresh is also on the advisory board of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India, which came under the scanner for being the auditor of the scam-tainted Satyam and is associated as non-executive independent director and member of audit committees with a number of private firms. Isn’t it surprising that a public servant who is holding sensitive bureaucratic roles is also holding such important positions in related industries, where companies are can take unfair advantage?

Akram Hoque           

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