West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is to remove her government’s own nominee Sumantra Choudhury, a retired Indian Administrative Service officer, as the managing director (MD) of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) less than a year after he was brought in to oust Partha S. Bhattacharyya from the same post in a boardroom coup. During his 11-month term, HPL couldn’t turn the corner—its losses mounted amid escalating differences between TCG and the West Bengal government. HPL’s fiscal 2013 loss was estimated at Rs900 crore, marginally higher than the previous year.
Former Coal India Ltd chairman Bhattacharyya was a nominee of The Chatterjee Group (TCG), one of the key shareholders of HPL, which has been fighting a protracted legal battle against the West Bengal government over ownership of some 155 million shares and management control of the petrochemical firm. Bhattacharyya quit on 19 June last year to be replaced immediately by Choudhury.