Independent directors of ONGC, HPCL, MRPL likely to be sacked

Written by Press Trust of India | Updated: Sep 2 2014, 05:29am hrs
After sacking four independent directors of IOC, the Narendra Modi government is now seeking to remove nine similar Congress-appointees from the boards of ONGC, HPCL and MRPL.

The NDA government is reviewing all appointments made by the previous UPA regime in its last year in office and is removing the political appointees, wherever possible, sources said.

After getting IOC to drop four independent directors and Engineers India to boot out two, it is now seeking to sack former power secretary P Uma Shankar, chartered accountant S Ravi and former BPCL chairman RK Singh from the ONGC board. It also wants chartered accountant Rohit Khanna to be removed from the HPCL board.

Also, chartered accountant CL Shah, former IAS officer Neela Gangadharan, Indian Institute of Science professor Jayant M Modak, professor of marketing at Banaras Hindu University Usha Kiran Rai and ship master Captain John Prasad Menezes are being sought to be removed from the board of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL), a subsidiary of ONGC.

Sources said the removal was being done in the same manner as was the case in IOC by not getting a resolution for their appointment approved by the shareholders at annual general meetings (AGMs) of the companies.

IOC did not move a resolution for confirmation of appointment of K Jairaj, Nesar Ahmad, Sunil Krishna and Sayan Chatterjee at its AGM in Mumbai on August 27.

In the absence of shareholders approval the four, who were appointed by the previous UPA government in March this year for a three-year term, ceased to be directors on the IOC board.

The same mode was used to remove former HPCL director for human resources V Vizia Saradhi and former law secretary DR Meena from the board of EIL. The two were appointed for a three-year term on November 13, 2013, and EIL did not take a resolution confirming their appointment to its AGM on August 28.

Sources said as per the Companies Act, all appointments made to the board of a company by promoters or otherwise, are valid only till holding of shareholders meeting. Once the shareholders approve, their appointment is formalised.

While Rohit Khanna was appointed part-time non official (independent) director on the HPCL board on September 27, 2013, the five directors being removed in MRPL were appointed on October 22 last year for three years.

Sources said P Uma Shankar, who retired as power secretary last year, along with S Ravi and RK Singh, were appointed on the ONGC board on November 29, 2013.

Other independent directors on the ONGC board professor Samir Kumar Barua of IIM-A and former SBI chairman OP Bhatt, who were appointed on December 13, 2011, continue to be directors on its board.