The government has selected Trai Secretary RK Arnold for the post of Permanent Member in the regulator, but the same has been challenged by Rakesh Mehrotra who was given the first preference in a list prepared by a search panel almost a year ago.
When contacted, Arnold confirmed receipt of the letter and said, "Yes, I have received the letter but I am yet to accept the offer."
Sources said Mehrotra has approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) accusing foul play in the selection.
The post of permanent member has been vacant after RK Prabhakar retired in February, 2010.
According to guidelines of the Ministry of Personal, Public Grievances and Pensions (MPPGP), the government needs to make the appointment in 60 days after the selection is completed by the search-cum-selection panel.
Arnold was second in the list of search-cum-selection panel headed by Prof VS Ramamurthy, Director at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
An offer letter has been issued to Arnold after the government rejected Mehrotra's candidature in November 2010. The government did not provide any reason for rejection of Mehrotra.
According to sources, the appointment letter to Arnold says that any appointment for the post of Member Trai during the pendency of the case in the Tribunal/Court will be subject to the outcome of the judicial decision.
Mehrotra in his petition is understood to have alleged external influences causing unnecessary delay in his appointment violating the principle of fairness in action.
"On account of this unwarranted and illegal activity, the file did not gather any pace and was made to lie dormant, causing violation of the guidelines applicable to the process," stated Mehrotra's petition.
According to CAT's order on this process, Arnold's appointment as a permanent member of Trai is conditional and will be subject to judicial decision on this matter.