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Govt removes 3 independent directors from ONGC board

india Updated: Sep 23, 2014 03:13 IST

The government has removed three independent directors appointed by the previous UPA regime from the board of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC).

The removal follows the sacking of four independent directors of IOC, two of Engineers India Ltd, one of Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and all five non-executive or independent directors of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL).

In a regulatory filing to stock exchanges, ONGC said, "P Umashankar, S Ravi and RK Singh have ceased to be Independent Directors on the board of the company on September 19, 2014 i.e the date of 21st Annual General Meeting of the company."

While Umashankar is a former bureaucrat who retired from the position of power secretary last year, Singh is former chairman and managing director of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL). Ravi is a chartered accountant.

Last week, MRPL had told stock exchanges that "five non-official part-time directors namely, CL Shah, Neela Gangadharan, Prof Usha Kiran Rai, Prof Jayant M Modak and Capt John Prasad Menezes have ceased to be directors on the board of the company."

These removals follow the sacking of all the UPA-appointed independent directors on the board of Coal India Ltd (CIL).

However, unlike Coal India, where the directors were told to quit and those who did not were voted out at the company's shareholders meeting, in case of oil companies, no resolution - as mandated by law - confirming their appointment was moved.

Sources said the directors removed from the boards of ONGC, HPCL, MRPL, IOC and EIL were appointed after the last shareholders meeting and their appointment was to be ratified at the respective AGMs of shareholders.

ONGC held its shareholder meeting on Friday.

In absence of the company moving a resolution seeking confirmation of their appointments, the five ceased to be directors on the company board.

Sources said previously IOC too had not moved a resolution for confirmation of appointment of K Jairaj, Nesar Ahmad, Sunil Krishna and Sayan Chatterjee at its AGM on August 27.

In the absence of shareholder 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 five directors removed from MRPL post its AGM on September 13 were appointed on October 22 last year for a three-year term.

While Rohit Khanna was appointed part-time non-official (independent) director on the board of HPCL on September 27, 2013, UP-cadre IAS officer of 1976 batch, P Uma Shankar along with S Ravi and RK Singh were appointed on ONGC board on November 29, 2013.

Other independent directors on the board of ONGC - Prof Samir Kumar Barua of IIM-Ahmedabad and former State Bank of India (SBI) chairman OP Bhatt, who were appointed on December 13, 2011 - continue to be directors on its board.