Nehru Museum Head's Appointment Under Govt Scanner

New Delhi
Nehru Museum Head's Appointment Under Govt Scanner

The government is examining if there was any "irregularity" in the appointment of Mahesh Rangarajan as Director of Nehru Memorial and Museum Library by the previous UPA dispensation and has sought opinion of Law Ministry.

The government is also seeking opinion from Election Commission which had then objected to the appointment made on May 14 last year, two days before the announcement of Lok Sabha election results.

"We are examining whether any irregularities were done in his appointment. But we have not taken a decision on his removal so far. We have not recommended his removal so far," Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma told PTI when asked whether the government has taken any decision to remove Rangarajan.

Ministry sources, meanwhile, said that Sharma has given directions to the officials to seek opinion from the Election Commission and the Law Ministry over the alleged "illegal" appointment of Rangarajan.

"If the Election Commission and the Law Ministry are of the opinion that Rangarajan's appointment was illegal, then the issue will take due course," a source in the ministry said.

Sharma had a few days back accused the UPA regime of "illegally" appointing director of NMML violating an order of the Election Commission (EC) last year and said the government would be taking an appropriate action in the matter.

Seeking to turn the tables on the Congress over the controversy surrounding revamping of Museum Library, he had said Jawaharlal Nehru was a national leader and his legacy was not a "fiefdom" of Gandhi family.

Terming Rangarajan's appointment as Director of NMML as "illegal and unethical", he had then said it was done despite the EC writing a letter on May 12, 2014 to the Culture Ministry asking it to defer a proposal on permanent absorption of Rangarajan for the post till the election process was over.

However, on May 14, in a cabinet committee meeting of the UPA government a decision was taken that the Director of Nehru Memorial will be appointed, Sharma said, adding and despite EC orders, Rangarajan was made director on May 19 till retirement.

The minister had further said that previous directors had a three-year tenure.

He had also said that an appropriate action would be taken in future.

Asked why the NDA government did not raise this issue in the past 15 months, Sharma had said,"We never wanted to raise this issue. But, once Congress leaders including its president has reacted on this issue, now it has become our duty to bring the facts before the public."

The government's decision to revamp 39 institutions including the Gandhi Smriti and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library to introduce modern Indian component, including works of the Modi dispensation was sharply criticised by Congress which termed it as "diabolical".

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