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Debasish Panda, Anil Mukim and Madhabi Puri Buch likely contenders for SEBI’s top post – BusinessLine

Two 1987 batch IAS officers — Debashish Panda (Uttar Pradesh cadre) and Anil Mukim (Gujarat cadre) — and former whole-time member (WTM) of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Madhabi Puri Buch are the likely candidates in the race for the post of SEBI chief, sources told BusinessLine.

Incumbent SEBI chairman Ajay Tyagi will be retiring in February 2022 after a five year stint and there is hectic lobbying among bureaucrats for the top position at the securities market regulator.

Even Tyagi is believed to be trying for another extension.

Panda is currently ensconced as the senior most bureaucrat in the Ministry of Finance and will be retiring from the administrative services in January 2022.

Mukim retired in August this year as the State Chief Secretary of Gujarat. He served in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister. Then, he was called back from central deputation on special request of the Gujarat government.

Buch, the former head of ICICI securities, served in SEBI between 2017 and 2021.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) Chairperson MS Sahoo, too, was in the reckoning for SEBI Chairman’s post but is being ruled out since he has already turned 63. Precedent shows that SEBI chairman is appointed at least for three years and serves up to the age of 65 years.

Vacancy at IRDAI

Currently, Buch is the only non-bureaucrat in the race. Mukim and Buch may also be considered for the top post at the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), if they are not selected as SEBI chief.

The Financial Sector Regulatory Appointment Search Committee (FSRASC), headed by the Cabinet Secretary, will conduct interviews for the post of SEBI chief after December 6, which is the last day to apply.

SEBI also has to fill two vacancies for the WTM post since Buch and another member G Mahalingam have retired. Deepak Mohanty, former Executive Director (ED), Reserve Bank of India, is among the favourites to become the SEBI WTM in place of Buch.

SEBI is likely to fill up Mahalingam’s post with an internal candidate and current ED Sujit Prasad is leading the race. He was appointed as SEBI ED in 2017.

None of those named in the story could be reached for comments.