Acting on the complaints of corruption, the government has suspended two directors of SAIL and one of NMDC. At the same time, SAIL has placed 26 below-board-level officials, including 4 Executive Directors.

In two separate filings with stock exchanges, SAIL and NMDC informed about the actions by the Steel Ministry. SAIL also issued a statement.

“Ministry of Steel, Government of India, vide its letter dated 19th January 2024, has placed V.S. Chakravarthy, Director (Commercial), SAIL and A.K. Tulsiani, Director (Finance), SAIL, on suspension with immediate effect,” a statement issued by SAIL said. Further to it, complying with the instructions from the Steel Ministry, SAIL has also placed 26 Below Board Level officials of the company on suspension with immediate effect. “The issue pertains to some investigations being carried out as per the directions of Lokpal,” the statement added.

In the regulatory filing, SAIL also gave the names of some officials placed under suspension. These include four Executive Directors, S K Sharma (F&A), Vinod Gupta, ED (Commercial), Atul Mathur (Sales & ITD) and R M Suresh (Marketing Services). Though the company has not given any details of charges, it is believed that these officials favoured some customers with lower prices. It is also believed that officials undertook some overseas tours.

Commenting on the matter, the Chairman of SAIL, Amarendu Prakash, said, “The company’s business is being carried out as usual, and it is not going to impact the performance of the company. We are dedicated to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance and ethical conduct. SAIL continues to stand strong in the industry focussing on quality and customer satisfaction.”

Meanwhile, another company under administrative control of the Steel Ministry, NMDC said in regulatory filing: “It has been informed by the Ministry of Steel, Govt. of India vide Order dated 19.01.2024 that the Competent Authority, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-rule 1 of Rule 20 of the Conduct, Discipline and Appeal Rules, 1978 of NMDC Ltd. has placed V Suresh, Director (Commercial), NMDC Ltd. under suspension with immediate effect.”

Shares of both SAIL and NMDC closed with gains on Saturday. While the share of SAIL ended the day with around 1 per cent gain and closed at ₹114.95, the share of NMDC registered a gain of a little over 1 per cent and closed at Rs 213.