Revenue secretary Sumit Bose and defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma are leading the race for the Comptroller & Auditor General's (CAG) post when Vinod Rai steps down next week.
Rai is due to retire from the post next Wednesday.
Planning Commission member secretary Sindhushree Khullar - who was once a front-runner in the race - is believed to be lagging behind. If she is able to catch up over the next couple of days, Khullar would be the first woman CAG of India.
Sources indicated the first hint that Khullar's candidature could run into trouble came recently when she was appointed as the mission director of the Direct Benefit Transfer project on a one-year term.
But for now, it is Bose whose chances of being appointed to the constitutional office are considered to be the brightest.
He is a 1976-batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer and would turn 60 next March, giving him an opportunity to continue in the post till March 2019.
The CAG is appointed for six years, or the incumbent completing 65 years, whichever is earlier.
It is being pointed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had gone by finance minister P Chidambaram's advice on the appointment of the CAG when Rai was appointed.
In the hot seat, the CAG under Rai's leadership took up audit of the 2G spectrum scandal and unearthed a scam in the allocation of coal blocks by the UPA government.