Is Prasar Bharati’s CEO letting his allies damage the state broadcaster?

Shashi Shekhar Vempati rose from working on Narendra Modi’s 2014 campaign to helming Prasar Bharati.

ByBasant Kumar
   bookmark_add
Is Prasar Bharati’s CEO letting his allies damage the state broadcaster?
Shambhavi Thakur
  • whatsapp
  • copy

On November 24 last year, BN Mahato, deputy director of finance at Prasar Bharati, sent out a memo announcing that the state broadcaster’s board, at a meeting on August 12, had given the CEO approval “to exercise financial powers” that included “approval of non-consultancy contracts for hiring of services”. The CEO may also “exercise the powers of secretary, I&B ministry. In consultation with the chairman, he may exercise powers vested in the ministry of finance and the department of personnel and training”.

The memo was withdrawn two days later “with the approval of CEO”. But sources in Prasar Bharati told Newslaundry it was revoked “under pressure from higher authorities”. The reason seemed to be that the memo gave the CEO expansive authority, not least because the CEO is also the chairman. His name is Shashi Shekhar Vempati.

Not that Vempati felt constrained. He has continued to exercise his powers arbitrarily, according to several Prasar Bharati employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. Allegations range from Vempati creating “new posts” for certain new hires and handing out extensions despite poor performance – all amidst falling revenues and stale content.

Official complaints these employees have filed with the I&B minister and the prime minister’s office have gone unaddressed.

How did Vempati come to acquire such power?

Stellar rise

Vempati was appointed CEO in 2017 and made chairman in February 2020 after A Suryaprakash demitted the post.

subscription image

Continue reading this story for free


Why should I pay for news?

Independent journalism is not possible until you pitch in. We have seen what happens in ad-funded models: Journalism takes a backseat and gets sacrificed at the altar of clicks and TRPs.

Stories like these these cost perseverance, time, and resources. Subscribe now to power our journalism.


  • Access to paywall stories
  • Access to NL Chatbox
  • Access to our subscriber-only Discord server
  • Access to subscriber-only events, including The Media Rumble and NL Recess
  • Access to podcast RSS links to listen to our paywall podcasts in apps like Apple and Google Podcasts
  • Access to NL Baithak


Post your free trial, you’ll be charged ₹300 per month

Already a subscriber? Login

You may also like