NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: With the tenure of the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) incumbent chairman Ajay Tyagi ending on 1 March, department of economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty is said to be the frontrunner for the coveted position at the market regulator, according to two people aware of the development.
The other key contenders said to be in the high-profile race include SEBI whole-time member Madhabi Puri Buch and corporate affairs secretary Injeti Srinivas. Tyagi's file has also been sent to the government for an extension.
The final call on the appointment will be taken by the two-member appointments committee of the cabinet comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah.
Atanu Chakraborty, who was earlier appointed economic affairs secretary in the finance ministry replacing incumbent Subhash Chandra Garg in a major bureaucratic reshuffle is an old hand at the North Block. A 1985 batch IAS officer from the Gujarat cadre, Chakraborty has earlier worked as the secretary Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) where he led the government's drive to mop up ₹1.05 trillion through stake sale.
As secretary in the corporate affairs ministry, Injeti Srinivas has been leading the government’s bankruptcy reforms as well as the revamp of the regulatory architecture of companies and auditors in the wake of the failure of systemically important conglomerate Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited. In 2018. He has also presided over the government’s efforts to weed out shell companies from the system.
The capital markets regulator plays a crucial role in ensuring listed companies play by the rules.
Chakraborty had earlier served as a director and joint secretary in the finance ministry. Before becoming the DIPAM secretary, Chakraborty was the Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) in the petroleum ministry, a position generally meant for technocrats, and was earlier the managing director of Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. Ltd (GSPC).
DGH is the oil ministry’s technical advisory arm for exploration and production that oversees multi-billion dollar exploration programmes of private and public sector companies.
Phone calls and messages sent to Chakraborty remained unanswered at the time of publishing. Chakraborty is in Guwahati on Thursday for a post-budget industry interaction with other ministry officials and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
“He is a very competent officer and will do justice with the position," said a senior government official who is also Chakraborty’ batchmate.
Chakraborty is an electronics and communication engineering graduate and had served in several departments, including finance, ports, home and labour in the Gujarat government.
SEBI has in the last three years wrapped up some of the long pending high profile cases. Besides resolving the backlog of cases, it also picked up many new cases which need to be resolved urgently. These include allegations around related party transactions at companies like Sun Pharmaceuticals, Infosys Ltd and Interglobe Aviation Ltd which operates airline Indigo.