The government may soon decide on the successor for market regulator Sebi chief C B Bhave, with a selection panel scheduled to hold final interviews on December 3.
Among those short-listed for the post, mutual fund industry body AMFI's Chairman, U K Sinha, and Corporate Affairs Secretary R Badyopadhyay are said to be the top contenders, sources close to the development said.
About half a dozen persons had been selected for the final interviews, but at least two of them - public sector lender SBI Chairman O P Bhatt and Reserve Bank Deputy Governor K C Chakrabarty - may not be interested in the position, sources said.
Others short-listed for the final interview include Department of Disinvestment Additional Secretary S Pradhan, Madhya Pradesh Principal Secretary G P Singhal and two Managing Directors at SBI, S K Bhattacharya and R Sridharan.
Incidentally, both Bhatt and Chakrabarty, as well as U K Sinha, were nominated for the role of RBI Chairman by the selection panel, while all other candidates submitted applications for the coveted post, which falls vacant after the incumbent Bhave's three-year term ends in February, 2011.
Sources said that the committee could consider calling a couple more candidates other than those already short-listed and one such person could be K P Krishnan, who is currently Secretary of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and was formerly a Joint Secretary in the Capital Market Division of the Department of Economic Affairs under the Finance Ministry.
Krishnan has previously served as a member on Sebi's board, while Bandyopadhyay is currently on the Sebi board as a government nominee.
Among the probables, Krishnan and Sinha have been a part of various committees formed by Sebi and the Finance Ministry for capital market regulations. Krishan was also a part of the Bimal Jalan committee that last week submitted a report on ownership and governance issues at stock exchanges and other market infrastructure institutions.
The interviews are scheduled to be held here on December 3 by the search panel headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar. Sources said that there could be a last-minute change in the schedule, given the volatile political situation in the wake of a string of alleged scams that have surfaced in the recent past.
The selection panel, led by Chandrasekhar and comprising Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla, Financial Services Secretary R Gopalan and Department of Personnel Secretary Shantanu Consul as members, last met in early November to decide on the final list of candidates.
Sources said that the panel had zeroed in on seven candidates at its last meeting, but some of them opted out. Furthermore, reservations have been expressed about a couple of them by senior policymakers and regulators.