Arun Bal’s life as a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University became so extraordinary that when the JNUSU polls were held in 1984,scores of Free Thinkers hugged him, even though he was not a contestant..

The changes he was forced to go through so publicly as a Free Thinker turned vote mobiliser made many want to win him over but he remained the constant critic of the radical politics.

Though he was active in other fields such as debate and table tennis,he was a serious student.I saw him studying in his room till the dawn had set in.He took civil service examinations seriously and made it.He was ever smiling,honest,affable and clean hearted man with brave heart.I always held him in high esteem.

Today Arun, Joint Secretary and Acquisition Manager in the Ministry of Defence,died after a massive heart attack in New Delhi.

A 1986 batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre, Arun collapsed during a morning walk. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Arun,every body knows,was dealing with the sensitive case involving the $12 billion purchase of 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) where France’s Dassault Rafale has been shortlisted. He was also heading the MoD’s investigations into irregularities in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland of Italy.

He had travelled to Italy and attended court hearings in the trial of senior AgustaWestland executives in Rome. Italian investigators found evidence that payoffs of over Rs.300 crore were made in the Rs.3600 crore deal for choppers signed with the IAF in 2010. The case is being probed by the CBI.

As a friend,I salute him for what he was and pray the Almighty to grant eternal peace to the departed soul and courage, patience and strength to the members of his family to bear the irreparable loss.

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