Govt ousts 3 independent directors from ONGC board

The government has removed three independent directors – all nominees of the previous UPA government - from the board of state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

In a regulatory filing to stock exchanges, ONGC said, "P Umashankar, S Ravi and R K Singh have ceased to be independent directors on the board of the company on September 19, 2014, ie, the date of 21st annual general meeting of the company."

Umashankar is a former bureaucrat, who retired as power secretary last year, while Singh is former CMD of BPCL and Ravi is a chartered accountant.

The other PSUs under the petroleum ministry, including IOC, Engineers India Ltd, HPCL and MRPL were removed last week.

These included one board member each from IOC and HPCL, two from Engineers India and five non-executive part-time directors from MRPL.

Last week, MRPL had told stock exchanges that "five non-official part time directors, namely, C L 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."

The NDA government had earlier removed all UPA-appointed independent directors from 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 the case of oil companies, no resolutions confirming their reappointment were moved.

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

ONGC, however, did not move any resolution confirming their reappointment at its shareholders' meeting on Friday and these directors ceased to be on the company's board.

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