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ONGC chief Subir Raha denied extensionnews
25 May 2006

New Delhi: Subir Raha, chairman and manging director, ONGC, has been denied a two-year extension till he turns 60 by the government. Raha was appointed for a five-year term or till he reached the age of 60, whichever was earlier. His five-year term ended on Wednesday.

Usually heads of public sector firms are granted extension till their superannuating date.

Till the eleventh hour there was speculation of Raha being allowed to continue till reaching the age of 60. However, prime minister Manmohan Singh upheld the decision not to give any extension to Raha on grounds of adverse remarks against him by former petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar and S C Tripathi, former petroleum secretary.

The decision overturns current petroleum secretary M S Srinivasan''s recommendation to grant the ONGC chief a three-month extension.

R S Sharma, director, finance, has been asked to take charge as chairman and managing director until the public sector enterprises selection board finalises the new appointment.

Aiyar had highlighted Raha''s excessive concern for the oil refining and petrochemicals business at the cost of ONGC''s core business of exploration as a major weakness in his performance. Aiyar, while praising Raha for his managerial capacities, had criticised him for "insubordination and indiscipline" and converting the oil major in to a one-man show.

Relations between the two had soured over the issue, triggering several conflicts ranging from the appointment of additional directors on the board of ONGC to fixing crude production targets.

The blame for the fire on the Bombay High North oil platform in July last year along with ONGC''s inability to make a major oil or gas strike during Raha''s tenure were being attributed to him.

Under Raha''s tenure, ONGC expanded its overseas presence where it has committed investments of $4.5 billion in properties in 14 countries.

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ONGC chief Subir Raha denied extension