By Manu Pubby, ET Bureau|Updated: May 29, 2018
NEW DELHI: The Defence Research And Development Organisation (DRDO) could stay headless for as many as three months with the government failing to find a replacement for incumbent Selvin Christopher who retired on Monday. Efforts till late to grant him another extension in service could have delayed the appointment of a successor, with a search committee looking at probable names to recommend to the cabinet appointments committee.
Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra will hold additional charge of the organisation till the government approves a scientist to take over the top position, an official notification said.
The past few weeks has seen jostling for the post. DRDO has an annual budget of `17,861 crore. Outgoing chief Christopher who was already on a year’s extension of service beyond the prescribed age but had been hoping for yet another extension.
This search committee list is expected to include the three senior most scientists of DRDO, besides the first woman to have made it to the post of director-general in the organisation. Sources said that those in the fray include missile scientists G Satheesh Reddy, the scientific advisor to the defence minister and the head of the Brahmos missile project, Sudhir Mishra.
While Mishra and Reddy come from the missile scientist community that has traditionally ‘ruled’ DRDO, also in contention is Pravin K Mehta, who heads the Armament cluster of the research organisation from Pune. A surprise entrant to the selection shortlist could also be DG Jillelamudi Manjula who heads the Electronics & Communication Systems vertical at DRDO.
As reported by ET, several top level appointments are pending at the defence ministry. The crucial posting to Northern Army Commander is still to be announced