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Sundeep Bhandari, the man credited with laying the foundation and then building what is now Cairn India, has quit the company.
Bhandari, who stitched a joint venture between Command Petroleum of Australia, Videocon Petroleum and Marubeni in 1994 to operate the Ravva oil and gas field off the Andhra Pradesh coast, sent in his resignation to Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agarwal, sources privy to the development said.
Bhandari played a crucial part in the takeover of Command Petroleum by Cairn Energy Plc in 1997. He then helped the Scottish company expand its Indian footprint, from the Cambay basin Gauri and Lakshmi field projects in Gujarat to the acquisition of Royal Dutch Shell's stake in the Rajasthan block in 1999-2000.
Considered the brain behind the success of Cairn in the country, Bhandari was instrumental in giving the company an Indian flavour when Cairn India was incorporated and listed on the stock exchanges in 2006.
A man with deep insights of regulatory and government functions, he is also considered the person who brought the now famous Rahul Dhir to head Cairn India.
After Cairn India struck rich in Rajasthan with multiple discoveries, Bhandari became Chairman of the Corporate Advisory Board of Cairn India. He also helped the company go beyond Indian shores into Sri Lanka.
His contribution was acknowledged when Cairn Energy head and Mike Watts - the man who discovered the prolific Rajasthan fields after Shell had written it off, named a discovery after Bhandari's wife, Vandana.
Sources said Bhandari in his resignation letter stated that a two-decade old idea and vision has now "blossomed into the most successful exploration and development company in India and one of the fastest-growing companies on the global scale."
After being at the forefront from the early days, dealing with challenges, handling sensitive issues, strategy, resolving critical matters and finding the right path, Bhandari stated that he has decided to move on and "pursue other exciting opportunities."
"The greatest rewards that I received during this two-decade journey were when Dr John Doran (of Command Petroleum) sent me a note thanking me and stating 'Thank you for all your hard work which has helped us polish an uncut diamond - without you, there would have been no Ravva!'; or when Sir Bill Gammell and Dr Mike Watts named one of the discoveries in Rajasthan as 'Vandana', acknowledging my contribution to the successes of Cairn," he wrote.