Tapan Ray returns to GSPL

Vol 25, PW 4 (27 Jan 22) News in Brief

Some government officials are too good to let go.

Tapan Ray, former managing director of GSPC and Gujarat State Petronet (GSPL), is one of them. Three years after Ray retired from the IAS, the Gujarat state government still manages to find a critical position for him to fill.

This time in familiar territory at pipeline company GSPL. Widespread approval from former colleagues greeted GSPL company secretary Rajeshwari Sharma's announcement on January 10 (2020) that Ray would be returning to GSPL as an independent director for five years until January 4 (2027).

"Other independent directors don't understand gas pipelines or transmission companies," says a source. "But Ray knows GSPL's strengths and weaknesses; his presence will boost our confidence."

Born on September 9 (1957), 64-year old Ray, a self-confessed green tea addict, spent 36 years in the IAS before retirement, holding a raft of high-profile positions in Gandhinagar and Delhi. Most important were his five years heading GSPC and GSPL from November 2009 to September 2014, when he successfully rooted out corruption, cut costs and slashed a mountain of debt accumulated by his predecessors, mainly for the ill-fated Deen Dayal development.

Shortly after retirement in 2018, the state government offered him the poison gift of saving the struggling Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT-City) development, one of Narendra Modi's vanity projects to develop a financial hub on 880 acres outside Gandhinagar to rival Dubai, Shanghai, Singapore and London. In addition to his new GSPL role, Ray holds independent director positions at GSPC LNG, which owns and operates the 5m t/y Mundra LNG terminal, Gujarat State Fertiliser Corporation (GSFC) and Gujarat Venture Finance (GVFL).

Ray was elevated to deity status among his many central government roles on September 17 (2014), when Delhi appointed him as an additional secretary at the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY).