P-LNG: PK Bajpai from BHEL set to be new MD

Vol 18, PW 16 (09 Apr 15) People & Policy

Nothing is official but Saurabh Chandra’s old college buddy BHEL director (finance) PK Bajpai looks set to become the next Petronet-LNG managing director.

“Nothing has been announced but we know the outcome,” says a source close to the development. “Everything was pre-determined and the search committee hardly had any say.

” When contacted ONGC chairman DK Sarraf, who also headed the search committee, refused to reveal who was selected after interviews on March 30. “This is a Board post and we’ve decided we’ll open the envelope at the next Board meeting (in mid-April),” says Sarraf.

Some are angry about the secrecy and claim it’s to avoid controversy before Board approval. Until now GAIL director marketing Prabhat Singh was the search committee’s clear favourite, displaying in-depth domain knowledge.

“Singh’s interview was very good!” confirms a Petronet-LNG source. Yet we're reminded that oil secretary Chandra is also Petronet-LNG chairman and can overturn the search committee’s selection any time.

Is Singh’s name in the envelope? Or is it Bajpai’s name? “It wasn’t a transparent or fair selection process,” adds our source. Bajpai and Chandra were roommates at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur: Chandra did electrical engineering, Bajpai did mechanical engineering.

Witnesses tell us their friendship was on full display at the inauguration of the second unit of ONGC Tripura Power Company’s (OTPC’s) Palatana power project in December 2014.

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