he Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has refused to acknowledge that Dr Sivathanu Pillai is the chief controller of research and development in the organisation, despite the fact that Pillai is still very much a part of DRDO. Pillai's post is regarded as the second most senior defense scientist post in the country, just after the position of Scientific Adviser to the Defense Minister.
His name also does not feature on the list of senior scientists who are presently serving on an extension with DRDO. Pillai, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Brahmos Aerospace, was granted his third post retirement extension last year.
When contacted, Ravi Gupta, the spokesperson of DRDO said that Pillai's name is not on the list of senior scientists who have got extension because he has retired from DRDO after getting two extensions as no further extension is possible beyond the age of 64.
However, the DRDO telephone directory of 2012 mentions Pillai's name and carries his designation as CC of R&D in DRDO on page number 4 and his Delhi number has been listed there. Similarly, the invitation card of National Institute of Technology, Kozhikode, that was held last month, where Dr Pillai was the chief guest, mentions his designation as CC, R&D in DRDO.
Gupta also added that Pillai's name will be removed from DRDO's website. However, even after three weeks of this correspondent speaking to Gupta, DRDO's website still shows Pillai as the CC of R&D.
This mysterious disappearance of the name from the seniority list and the fact that DRDO is denying that Pillai is still a part of DRDO has raised questions about why the government is not "acknowledging" that a third extension has been given to Pillai.
Third extensions are given very rarely, if at all. This was acknowledged by Gupta too, who said that third extension beyond the age of 64 is not possible. Pillai was given his first extension in 2007 by Defence Minister A.K. Antony.