Raha declines chance to be new downstream regulator

Vol 10, PW 18 (11 Jan 07) People & Policy

Subir Raha, former chairman of ONGC, has turned down an offer to join the race to become Chairman of the nascent Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board.

PETROWATCH learns Raha was one of three possible candidates approached by a Search Committee set up to identify and recommend the two best people for the job. Former oil secretary Sushil Tripathi and D.

Raje, former director research and development at Indian Oil, were also approached. None of the three men had applied for any post on the regulatory board, either as Chairman or Member.

Tripathi and Raje agreed to be considered, but Raha is understood to have politely declined, either because he sees better prospects elsewhere, or because he is still sore at the shoddy manner in which he was denied an extension as ONGC chairman. Nobody was surprised that ex-oil secretary Tripathi did not submit an application.

Tripathi was never on the best of terms with his successor as oil secretary MS Srinivasan when the latter was additional secretary and later special secretary in the oil ministry. “He would have found it personally embarrassing to appear before the Search Committee with Srinivasan on it,â€‌ we hear.

“But it is different now since the Search Committee has on its own added his name to the list.â€‌ Search Committee members held their second meeting in Delhi on 10th January, a month after the first meeting on 7th December.

“There was no fixed agenda,â€‌ says a ministry source. “The committee discussed ways to further narrow the shortlist put together at the 7th December meeting.

â€‌ During the 7th December meeting the Search Committee shortlisted three candidates who had formally applied for the post of chairman: MB Lal, who retires on 31st March as chairman of Hindustan Petroleum; Lalit Mansingh, former secretary for consumer affairs; and IG Pandse, member of the Income Tax Settlement Commission.

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