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Gupta tipped as MD, ONGC Videsh, a post vacant since February 2019: An inside story

By IndianMandarins- 12 Jul 2020
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If some well-placed sources are to be believed the search-cum-selection-committee (SCSC) on Thursday recommended the name of Atul Kumar Gupta (Director- Operations, OVL) for the post of Managing Director, ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL); India's flagship firm for acquisition of oil and gas assets abroad.

Reportedly, over a dozen candidates were called for interaction including few senior IAS officers for the post which is lying vacant since 01 February 2019 after Narendra K Verma retired on 31 January 2019. Subject to requisite clearances and ACC approval he will become new MD of OVL.

After keeping the post vacant for nearly a year the NaMo Govt in January 2020 constituted the SCSC inviting applications by 06 February 2020.

It would be interesting to mention that the PESB had started the hunting process of MD, OVL  well on time i.e. six months prior to the post falling vacant. The Petroleum Ministry, reportedly, wanted SCSC route instead of the PESB route but differences with several departments over bureaucrats applying delayed the process.

The post was exempted from the 'Rule of immediate absorption' (i.e. resigning from service) and candidates (JS level and above) were allowed to apply on a deputation basis. If some insiders are to be believed the Oil Ministry was inclined to post an IFS officer on a deputation basis but it somehow it could not happen.

Finally, the SCSC has recommended Alok Kumar Gupta’s name for MD, OVL; a wholly-owned subsidiary of ONGC with over 40 projects in 19 countries and investment worth USD 29.28 billion. Ironically, in the absence of a regular incumbent OVL did not make a single acquisition in 2019.

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