The Centre on Tuesday removed the chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation Avinash Chander, 15 months before his contract was to end.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “approved the termination” of the contract of Avinash Chander with effect from January 31, an official notification said.

Chander, who was Secretary, Defence Research and Development-cum-Director General of DRDO and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, had retired on November 30 last on attaining 64 years of age and was given a contract for 18 months till May 31 next year.

Analysts believe that the action could have been taken against the backdrop of Narendra Modi’s comment that the ‘laid back’ attitude in the DRDO will not be tolerated during a visit last year. Efforts to contact Chander did not fructify.