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New Delhi, January 14, 2015 (Agencies) Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Director-General Avinash Chander was on Tuesday unceremoniously removed from the post, almost 15 months before his contract was to end.

“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the termination of the contract of Avinash Chander, secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development-cum-DG, DRDO, and scientific advisor to the defence minister with effect from January 31,” said the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in its order released on Tuesday.

The decision came as a bolt from the blue for defence scientists, as Chander's term was extended till 2016 by the Narendra Modi government on November 28 last year. Incidentally, the DoPT order was briefly posted on its website before being withdrawn. Though Chander superannuated in November at the age of 64, the government gave him a contract to continue in his position till May 31, 2016, with the same perks and authority. 

He was to continue to hold all three positions—DRDO director-general, scientific advisor to the defence minister and secretary in the Department of Defence Research and Development.

The chief architect of the long-range Agni ballistic missiles, Chander led India to successfully develop and test intercontinental ballistic missiles with 5,000-km range. 

Chandra received two extensions of two years each after retiring at 60. The second extension ended on November 30, after which the government hired him back on contract. Last month, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said the government was planning a review of the DRDO, which often attracted criticism for its failure on a number of key projects.

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