The process for appointing the next SEBI chief is likely to gather pace. The formal interview of potential candidates will be held on July 15, sources told BusinessLine .

The three-year term of the incumbent SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi ended in February. However, he was given a six- month extension as the government had imposed a lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Atanu Chakraborty, Former Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, is the top candidate for the job, according to sources.

Chakraborty, a 1985 batch Gujarat cadre India Administrative Service (IAS) officer, retired in April. He has served on the SEBI board as a government representative.

Other top bureaucrats in the reckoning are Injeti Srinivas, a 1983-batch IAS officer of the Odisha cadre, who retired on May 31, and Ramesh Abhishek, the 1982-batch IAS officer of the Bihar cadre, the source said. Abhishek was the chief of the Forwards Market Commission between 2012 and 2015.

Among non-IAS officers, Madhabi Puri Buch, the current whole-time member of SEBI, is in the reckoning and will be interviewed by the selection committee. NS Vishwanathan, former Deputy Governor of the RBI, too is likely to be interviewed, the sources said.

The Finance Ministry is also looking at the option of giving an 18-month extension to the current Chairman, Tyagi, given the uncertainty around the pandemic and its impact on the markets.

An advertisement for the post of SEBI chief was issued in January and candidates were asked to apply.

The Government can also select a candidate who has not applied. The SEBI Chairman is appointed based on the recommendations of the Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee (FSRASC).

Currently, the process of appointment will be led by Rajiv Gauba, Union Cabinet Secretary, who heads the FSRASC. The process may also involve Pramod Kumar Mishra, Principal Secretary, PMO and Tarun Bajaj, Secretary, DEA.