Former power secretary Sanjeev Sahai picked for PNGRB chairman post

Former power secretary Sanjeev Sahai picked for PNGRB chairman post

Former power secretary Sanjeev Sahai picked for PNGRB chairman post

Former power secretary Sanjeev Nandan Sahai, who virtually made a last-minute entry into the list of candidates, has been selected as the new chairman of oil regulator PNGRB, sources said.

A Search Committee headed by V K Saraswat, Member (S&T), NITI Aayog, picked up Sahai, a 1986 batch IAS officer who retired as Secretary in Ministry of Power on January 31 this year, after interviews on Wednesday, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Sahai hadn’t applied for the job and his name did not figure in the list of candidates that the panel sent out invites for interviews last month.

His name was possibly added after Oil Secretary Tarun Kapoor, who had ‘endorsed’ candidature of former IOC director-marketing Gurmeet Singh to be added to the list even though he hadn’t originally applied, on May 28 afternoon asked panel members to include more names who they think are fit for the job, sources said.

Following this, Sahai was approached and he was included on May 30 or 31, they said.

“He was last to be interviewed by the Committee on Wednesday,” a source said.

Along with Sahai a couple of other names which the panel felt were suited for the job of Chairman, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), were added.

The Committee — which also comprises secretaries to the ministries of oil, and commerce, secretary legal affairs and economic affairs secretary — interviewed 8-9 candidates including ones who had applied and the ones panel members thought were suitable and invited.

The candidates selected will now be sent to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for decision.

ACC will decide after obtaining vigilance clearance.

While previously only those who have retired as chairman of public sector firms or senior bureaucrats were considered for the PNGRB top job, directors of PSUs were included in the selection universe by the Search Committee at its meeting on January 15.

Such candidates, however, should have been affirmed by any member of the panel. Gurmeet Singh too hadn’t applied but was included among the shortlisted at that meeting after his candidature was endorsed by the Oil Secretary, according to the minutes of the meeting.

Other candidates interviewed on June 2 included retired bureaucrat Avinash Kumar Srivastava, former ONGC chairman Shashi Shanker and former ONGC director Sanjay Kumar Moitra.

The post of Chairman, PNGRB, has been lying vacant since December 4, 2020, when Dinesh K Sarraf completed his three-year term.

The Board, which comprises four members besides the chairman, is almost defunct with just one serving member.

The Search Committee has selected former GAIL directors Gajendra Singh and A K Tiwari to fill posts of two members. Interviews to select member (legal) will also be held shortly, the sources said.

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