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MRPL Sacks Senior Lady Official; Public Sector Puzzled!

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By S Kumar

New Delhi: The swift sacking of a senior managerial level employee of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) has sent shock waves among the Public Sector fraternity. Lekshmi M Kumaran with Employ Code 11708, holding the post of GGM (Marketing Co.&Branding) and First Appellate Authority, (as per the Company website) was hurriedly removed from service on October 12 this year, without even allowing her “to pack up personal belongings” from the office she worked for 13 years plus. The lady officer was inducted to the company as Deputy General Manager in May 2007 and in a span of 13 years she was elevated to the GGM, considered a top position in the management hierarchy of the company.

Interestingly, the senior lady officer was fired from service for “some false information” provided while she applied for an executive position in MRPL way back in 2006.   According to facts available with the PNI team, the cause quoted for dismissal looks absurd and “likely to fall apart in a court of law if challenged properly.”  The reason for the dismissal is the “suspected genuineness” of the experience certificate the lady official produced about 14 years ago with her application for the post of Deputy General Manager (Corporate Communications).

Responding to a newspaper advertisement during the second half of 2006, roughly in the month of November, Lekshmi M Kumaran, then a manager, corporate communications, in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), sent in her resume following which she was called for a personal interview. As per her version all relevant certificates on qualifications and experience were produced for detailed scrutiny and she was offered the position of a senior manager which she rejected, for she was already holding almost the same position in a coveted company like IOC.

As per the advertisement the required experience for the post of senior manger was 16 years in total and she had about 19 years of experience.  She had relevant documents to prove her experience and presented same during the personal interview. Consequently the applicant was invited for the personal interview and selected for the post advertised. However, she rejected the offer for she “was offered the equivalent position currently holding in a Navaratna company IOC-(MRPL is Miniratna-1)”, and the post was not filled.  

It’s surprising; MRPL again released an advertisement with the same conditions. But now the call was for “Deputy General Manager, Corporate Communications”.  Every condition for the position was the same, including and the term of experience was also kept the same, 16 years. This suited Lekshmi. She applied for the post, attended an interview in March 2007 and got selected. On May 26, 2007, she joined MRPL, at its Mangalore Head Office in Karnataka, as Deputy General Manager (Corporate Communications), the position she preferred.

According to information privy to PNI she was elevated to five important positions in less than 13 years and the management First Appellate Authority, thanks to her “competence and alacrity in discharging duty”. But many wonder how this lady officer with ‘commendable competence” fell from grace overnight and was subjected to fired from so suddenly?

“There is more to her dismissal than meets the eye” says a retired official who worked with MRPL in a senior position, regarding the removal.

This officer who is privy to many information questions the dismissal of a senior lady officer like Lekshmi on a “filmy charges like mismatch in work experience.”

The officer has a point in asking “how could the management suddenly wake up and dig out her (Lekshmi’s) files and find out that the documents she provided were not authentic and did not have the kind of experience the post required?  This could be an act of vendetta planned and executed by someone who was displeased with her for some reasons.”

The argument of the retired officer sounded convincing. As per procedures, the applications have to be properly scrutinized before dispatching call letters. As per sources close to MRPL in Lekshmi’s case also the due process was done. Her application was first screened by a clerical staff and then by an E-1 level officer before it was presented to the Interview Board. The entire information and the names of officials involved in the selection process are with PNI, (but we do not wish to make the details public at this juncture.)

There were six senior level officers in the Interview Board, Headed by the then President Marketing. The then Head of HR of the Company and a senior executive from ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, the holding company of MRPL) was also among the members of the Interview Board. Normally, the members of the Interview Board hold a pre-interview meeting to check the applications and then proceeds to interview the candidates. The same board will meet after the interview sessions are over to finalize their evaluation report. The same is forwarded to the Management and the Management to their higher bosses for final approval. After all these exercises the file is moved to the HR head for issuing the relevant order of appointment.

In short, there were almost 10 opportunities for scrutiny of the applicant’s credential before she was officially appointed. After appointments, on every stage of promotion, right from declaration of the mandatory probation, there has to be a proper scrutiny of the documents, which would have been done with due diligence.

The pertinent question is, if testimonials Lekshmi presented were not of doctored, fallacious or fabricated then how those involved in the process of selection and appointment could not detect the “lack in experience” of the candidate till she reached the GGM post? Was there any laxity in the process from the concerned officials? Is the lady executive ‘victimised’ for some other undisclosed reasons?

A senior Supreme Court lawyer said, “The dismissal is bound to fall apart in a court of law, if she is removed on the basis of such reasons. Not just that all those in her recruitment, from verification of her credentials to signing the appointment, will be held reasonably accountable.”   The lawyer further said, if the lady officer is able to prove in the court the malicious motive behind her dismissal the jury could initiate criminal proceedings against the ‘perpetrators’.

However the management has justified the dismissal of Ms Lekshmi M Kumaran from the company “based on a CVC order”.  Mr. Rudolf V J Noronha, who introduced himself on phone to PNI News as an official from legal MRPL’s legal department (later it was found that Mr Noronha  was GM corporate communications) had said  that “the lady officer was removed based on CVC charges”. Mr Noronha had promised to email all documents relating to the dismissal by EoD, October 15, 2020, but still to receive the said e-mail.  Interestingly there was no response from him for a reminder email sent two days later.

As the former retired official said it seems “There is more to her dismissal than meets the eye”.

 Edited by Suresh Unnithan

22 Comments
  1. Jija says

    It is very sad thefficient women officers do not have the space to function in India’s Public Sectors even in 2020, 70 years after the Republic was born. Generally the harassment is below the surface in intolerant organisations, but MRPL being in the far corner of the country, and isolated from Delhi, it appears, the Management has the audacity to remove anyone on whimsical grounds.

  2. Shashidhara hb says

    Thus is not kannad, it’s kannada

  3. Shashidhara hb says

    It’s Kannada not kannad

  4. Renuka N Nair says

    The entire lot must be exposed, Ms Lakshmi, Ms.Manjusha and others mentioned are all competent, above board and extremely intelligent ladies. Never would they have imagined they would be recruited for specific assignments and then given such shoddy treatment.
    What is remarkable is that there is a show of enquiry, threat if vigilance , no consideration of evidence , flimsy grounds for harassment. Is this Kannada lobby or something far more sinister. Reinstate the officer and compensate her for the foul behaviour of management, issue a showcause to the competent authority of MRPL. It is a travesty of justice, in these covid times.

  5. Pradeep Das says

    Probably the story made by PNI is sponsored by the employee himself who has been sacked. To the best of my knowledge, this has been done after conducting an enquiry by an outside HR expert who has given an impartial report. The sacked officer had secured the job in MRPL based on forged documents and all the charges are proved. Probably officer deserved this, who has always been against the senior management of the companies she served using them and then blackmailing them by lodging a complaint of harassment/ sexual harassment against them. She is one of the most corrupt officers who has been misusing facilities of the Company to her benefit and putting the company in a loss Lakhs of Rupees. In another case/enquiry of wrong claims, some 4.8 lakhs are to be recovered from her, which she claimed by wrongful means. She is not at all a competent officer, which is proved from annual transfers she got from various departments. She has been demanding favours even from VIP references and was removed at the intervention of Mighty people. There is no such reason for Kerala, rather PNI should have written South India and North India. Before writing a concocted story, PNI should have confirmed from the Management as a responsible News Agency.

  6. N.Jayaraman says

    MRPL management is a failure..Birla exited long back.ONGC pumped so much money..It is always on expansion mode.No good performance.SEE RIL Cochin Carin Refiners..Some dreaming redo is called for.Poot Performence

  7. K..SHRIDHARA says

    Sad, natural justice failed here. For all notice required and need to establish a fair enquiry. All are taken away.

  8. Sumanta Barman says

    Paid news sponsored by that lady. That lady has maligned and turmished the regional sentiments. Black sheeps and white elephants like her should be sacked immediately.

  9. S Mondal says

    This country is now turned into a fascist country.

  10. Virendra says

    Do home work and write article, MRPL is having non Kannada also as it is central PSU. Present director refinery is non Kannada.

  11. Dr K L Patel says

    Not a healthy precedent – in our India every body needs to be given fair chance to defend his or her position before any punitive or damaging action !!
    Must seek intervention of higher authorities and the appropriate Court for justice to prevail

  12. Pradeep Das says

    Though MRPL gives preference to Kannada and try that others to remain back benchers but Kerala story is totally wrong. MRPL previous MD and Director – Refinery were from Kerala and tried that all the Mallus should be preferred including this lady, who later became hostile to all her well wishers. Anyways.

  13. Pradeep Das says

    I posted a detailed comment last night giving real details of the case but the same has not been published, not allowing me to have freedom of speech. If a comment which is in contrast to the news but not published then this facility be withdrawn.

  14. T V Muralidharan says

    I have been working in this company for the last 27 years and till now I have not experienced any discrimination between people of different states. I proudly say MRPL is a mini India consisting of people from all the states in India.

  15. Lekshmi Kumaran says

    Friends
    The news is not correct. I have been dismissed for fake experience certificates after due process. It has nothing to do with inefficiency or competence.

  16. N K BANSAL says

    Very sure that being a PSU, MRPL can not and will not create a case and sack any one on regional considerations. System has to follow all well laid down steps. We have seen even a Bengali head in MRPL .

  17. T V Muralidharan says

    Well said

  18. T V Muralidharan says

    My “Well said” comment is in reply to Srinivas Moturi’s comments.

  19. Virender Rai says

    I think media should play a role of positivity rather than creating a havoc in the mind of people against PSU. We should have faith in the system and if aggrieved due to any reason there are ways to address.
    After having worked for more than 35 years in PSU, I can vouch for the transparancy and adherence to laid down rules in PSUs.

  20. K P Subramanyam says

    Sir
    I am an ex employee of MRPL and I have enquired the details. The case is regarding recruitment of this lady based on misleading and false experience. Moreover, the other charges are the misusing of power for personal benefits and forgery of documents. The case of false experience was in knowledge of management and many employees, but till now no one gathered courage to take action because of strong connections of this lady officer.

    The case was sent to Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India for examination. The commissioner has ordered the inquiry as per the Prevention of Corruption Act. The inquiry is conducted by a very senior retired HR professional. As per the enquiry report and the instructions of Chief Vigilance Commissioner, this officer is removed from the service.

    For this speedy inquiry and action, the MRPL management is highly appreciated by the Government.

    This is a very late but right action of the management against this lady officer.

  21. K P Subramanyam says

    Sir
    I am an ex employee of MRPL and I have enquired the details. The case is regarding recruitment of this lady based on misleading and false experience. Moreover, the other charges are the misusing of power for personal benefits and forgery of documents. The case of false experience was in knowledge of management and many employees, but till now no one gathered courage to take action because of strong connections of this lady officer.

    The case was sent to Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India for examination. The commissioner has ordered the inquiry as per the Prevention of Corruption Act. The inquiry is conducted by a very senior retired HR professional. As per the enquiry report and the instructions of Chief Vigilance Commissioner, this officer is removed from the service.

    For this speedy inquiry and action, the MRPL management is highly appreciated by the Government.

    This is a very late but right action of the management against this lady officer.

  22. Sathish says

    If it’s true , it’ll be me a MRPL legacy.

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