Greater Noida: With the government giving Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) chairman B. Prasada Rao a two-year extension, Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) chairman R.S. Butola may be the next in line to get a post-retirement service extension as his case is similar to that of Rao’s.

Like Rao, who was last month given an extension as the government headhunter Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB)-selected candidate Prakash Chand lacked board-level experience, Butola’s successor is also an executive director with no board-level experience.

“Considering that the government made a conscious decision in case of Rao and considering that its policy is consistent in all cases, I think Butola should get an extension," a senior oil ministry official said.

Besides the fact that PESB-selected chairman designate B. Ashok (currently executive director, retail sales, in IOC) has no board experience, the case for extending Butola’s service is more compelling because all the other six directors on board of the nation’s largest oil firm are retiring in the next one year.

While no formal proposal for extension to Butola, who retires May-end, has been moved, the ministry is preparing to seek a one-year extension for Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) chairman Sudhir Vasudeva who will be attaining superannuation age of 60 years next month.

Officials said oil minister M. Veerappa Moily had on 4 November written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking an extension for Vasudeva on grounds that several projects are pending.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had written back asking the ministry to submit a formal proposal through the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which essentially means that the clearance of anti-corruption watchdog has to be taken before moving the proposal, they said.

PESB had on 30 August selected ONGC Videsh Ltd managing director Dinesh K. Sarraf to head ONGC after Vasudeva.

Sarraf, 56, whose file for appointment as ONGC chairman is now with the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) after both the CVC and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cleared him, is the senior most director in ONGC. He became director finance of ONGC in 2007 and is senior to Vasudeva.

The ministry has not withdrawn Sarraf’s file and is seeking an extension for Vasudeva in parallel, officials said.

Much before the 4 November letter, Moily had on 26 March written to the Prime Minister seeking fixed tenure for chairman and directors of central public sector enterprises for five years or until the age of 63 years, whichever is earlier.

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