ONGC director suspended over procurement 'misconduct'

State-run explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corp suspended its director and board member Shashi Shanker after the government said he committed ''gross misconduct'' while handling a procurement tender.

Shanker, whose responsibilities included awarding contracts for rigs and oilfield services, committed misconduct with a tender to procure 21 blowout preventers, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas said in a statement today in New Delhi.

"Shashi Shankar, director (Technical and Field Services), ONGC has committed gross misconduct while dealing with a tender for Procurement of 21 Blowout Preventers (BOP)," the ministry said in a release.

"Taking strong note of the lapses, the government on February 23 ordered suspension of Shashi Shankar with immediate effect to ensure fair and transparent inquiry," it added.

Shankar was appointed on 1 February last year. He may face ''disciplinary proceedings,'' ONGC added in a stock exchange filing.

The petroleum ministry is reeling under the corporate espionage case, with allegations of sensitive documents being leaked to interested parties. Shankar's suspension however appears to be unrelated to this issue.