Oil and Natural Gas Corporation director (technical) Shashi Shankar has cleared the first hurdle to head India’s biggest oil and gas producer ONGC when the present chairman-cum-managing director Dinesh Sarraf retires on September 30.
Shankar was selected from nine candidates by government headhunter Public Enterprise Selection Board. His choice would need approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) after the administrative petroleum ministry obtains clearance from anti-corruption watchdog Central Vigilance Commission. His appointment will come through only when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the sole member of the ACC, approves it. Shanker, 56, will have a nearly four-year term till March 2021.
Shankar faced controversy after being suspended from the current post in February 2015 for alleged irregularities in an unawarded Rs 23-crore tender for buying 21 blowout preventers. He had to be reinstated in July as the Supreme Court held that a government employee’s suspension could not stand beyond 90 days unless the prosecution files a charge sheet within the stipulated time.
Nearly 30 candidates, including private sector honchos, applied for the ONGC top job in May but the PESB shortlisted only nine, none from the private sector because of whom the entire PESB selection process was delayed by nearly six months.