Sinha forced out of MTNL chair over Motorola scandal

The chairman of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, R S P Sinha, resigned on Tuesday, reportedly under marching orders from the government.
"Yes, I have put in my papers," Sinha told newspersons, without elaborating on reasons. On a three-month extension, he has failed to secure a fresh term from the prime minister's office.

His resignation comes as a setback to telecommunications minister A Raja, who approved the extension of his tenure despite charges against Sinha of favouring Motorola in an equipment order in 2003.

At the time of the signing of the equipment contract, Sinha was director (finance) of MTNL, the state-owned company that operates in Delhi and Mumbai. Raju allegedly blocked a charge-sheet by the Central Bureau of Investigation against Sinha, and instead promoted him.

But things seem to have changed after the Delhi high court recently hauled up the CBI for seeking to close the case against Sinha.

When contacted by the press, Raja said, ''His (Sinha's) tenure came to an end and he did not get a further extension." Asked about the ongoing CBI enquiry against Sinha, the minister declined to comment.

Reports say that Sinha received a call from telecommunications ministry secretary P J Thomas asking him to step down on Monday evening, when he was on his way to attend a MTNL board meeting. Sinha left the venue even before the meeting started.