As many as 55 candidates have evinced interest in heading India’s capital market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Prominent names include Ramesh Abhishek, former Chairman of the erstwhile Forwards Market Commission, and Thomas Mathew, former Joint Secretary in the Economic Affairs Department.

The term of the current Chairman, UK Sinha, ends on February 17, 2016. The SEBI Chairman’s position is equal to that of Secretary, Government of India.

One of the dark horses in the race could be KM Abraham, a former whole-time SEBI member.

Though he has not formally applied so far, sources said that the search-cum-selection committee is free to identify and recommend any other person on the basis of merit.

Abraham gained recognition for passing orders against the Sahara Group besides rejecting the application of MCX-SX to start equities, debt, derivatives of equities, and debt and SME platforms.

Another former whole-time SEBI member, MS Sahoo, who is now a Competition Commission of India member, and Rajeev Kumar Agarwal, currently whole-time SEBI member, are also believed to be among the contenders for the top job.

Sahoo was part of a committee that reviewed the framework of access to domestic and overseas capital markets using depository receipts. Agarwal is known for his orders against multiple entities indulging in raising huge sums of money from gullible investors through unauthorised money pooling schemes.

Prominent bankers, including former RBI Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn, and current Deputy Governor Urjit Patel are the other potential candidates.

The last date for submitting applications for the post was October 7. The Government had called for applications on August 24.

Interview panel The interview panel is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and comprises the Economic Affairs Secretary and two domain experts nominated by the Centre. In addition, the Finance Minister may also nominate a maximum of two members in the panel.