Shubhranshu says a ‘malicious campaign’ is on.
Shubhranshu, the engineer who led Team ICF that made Train18, which was later flagged off as Vande Bharat Express, has formally written to the Railway Board alleging that a malicious campaign was on in the last two years to destroy his career.
With the Central Vigilance Commission exonerating him of all charges, the then Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, has written to the Ministry of Railways that he should be elevated as General Manager as per rules and then considered for promotion as Chairman Railway Board and Chief Executive Officer, sources in the Railways told The Hindu on Thursday. Mr. Shubhranshu is presently Chief Administrative Officer, Rail Wheel Plant in Bela.
Also read | Architect of Train18 shifted to less prominent post
“The malicious campaign, lasting over two years, to malign me and destroy my career has finally been called out by the CVC, who have exonerated me in all vigilance cases fabricated against me. Now, my position in the GM panel for the years 2019-20, 2020 and 2021 should be restored and all benefits granted,” the sources quoted Mr. Shubhranshu as saying in his letter to the Chairman, Railway Board/Chief Executive Officer.
Though his case was moved as per rules following the intervention of the Minister for Railways on January 11, 2021 for restoration of his name in the GM panel even as the vigilance cases existed, the file was shelved for reasons “unknown”.
“You are requested to take the above proposal to fruition and post me as General Manager without any further delay. The 2-year tenure rule doesn’t apply in my case since the restoration of benefits and seniority would be with retrospective effect,” he said.
Mr Shubhranshu said that consequent upon restoration of benefits he should be considered for promotion to the position of Chairman Railway Board or Chief Executive Officer and Member (Traction & Rolling Stock).
“Please ensure that no posting of any GM is done ahead of me and no proposal for CRB & CEO and Member (Traction & Rolling Stock) is sent without including my name for consideration,” he said, adding that any further delay in granting him promotion would mean harassment and selective discrimination.
Mr. Shubhranshu along with the then ICF General Manager Sudhanshu Mani, had led the team of engineers that manufactured the first Train18 in a record 18 months’ time at a cost of ₹97 crore.
The self-propelled Trainset, India’s first semi-high speed train, was later launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Vande Bharat Express between New Delhi and Varanasi in February 2019. Months later, the second rake was made operational on the Delhi-Katra route.
Game changer train
Though the train was described as a game changer by the then Minister for Railways and the indigenously built Train18 celebrated as the most successful product of ‘Make in India’ initiative, the manufacturing of more rakes came to a grinding halt despite demand.
Train 18, the NextGen Shatabdi, launched at ICF
Amid allegations of corruption, compromises on safety and other issues, some of the key officials in the team were shifted out to insufficient posts and vigilance cases registered against them.
The making of more rakes resumed after Mr. Modi announced the operation of 75 Vande Bharat trains on the occasion of the Independence Day this year.
The Ministry floated tenders for manufacturing 58 rakes, each comprising 16 coaches. Tenders were already floated for making 44 rakes. The third rake is expected to be rolled out of ICF early 2022, railway sources added.
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