Chalasani: Sudden exit
Mumbai, Sept. 27: Jayarama P. Chalasani has decided to resign from his position as chief executive officer of Reliance Power, the Anil Ambani group company.
It wasn’t immediately apparent what prompted the sudden exit of one of Anil Ambani’s closest advisers.
In a terse message to the stock exchanges, Reliance Power said Chalasani “will be leaving the company towards the end of the year to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions and re-locate overseas”.
Chalasani has been the CEO of Reliance Power for the past five years.
Earlier, he served as director of business development at Reliance Infrastructure. He had joined the Reliance group almost 18 years ago after holding responsible positions in NTPC.
Chalasani was Anil Ambani’s representative on the board of Reliance Natural Resources Ltd when it was spun off during the group’s demerger in 2006.
In January 2006, he had objected to several changes that RIL’s representatives — Sandip Tandon and L.V. Merchant — had made in the gas supply agreement between the then warring brothers.
In January 2011, Anil Ambani and four directors of his group companies, including Chalasani, were barred by Sebi from trading in stocks and securities in the secondary market for 12 months.
The development capped an almost year-long investigation into charges that Ambani and two group companies — Reliance Infrastructure and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd — had raised money on overseas markets in 2006 and funnelled the cash into the local bourses through market intermediaries to pump up the stock of Reliance Communications.
The market regulator imposed a penalty of Rs 25 crore each on the two companies and the directors, including Ambani. The Rs 50-crore penalty establishes a new record under the regulator’s consent order process.
Chalasani’s exit comes at a crucial time as Reliance Power is planning to expand its power generation capacity. Analysts say that one of his achievements at the company was to build its operational capacity to 2,500MW despite various challenges faced by the sector.
The company is now planning to double it to 5000MW over the next one year.
A large part of this will come from the Sasan project, which has a targeted capacity of 3,960MW.
At its annual general meeting held recently, Anil Ambani had said the company would complete the Sasan mega power project despite various challenges.
In March, the company had commissioned the first 660MW unit of the Sasan project. The previous fiscal also saw the first full year operation of its 1,200MW Rosa project in Uttar Pradesh and the 40MW Solar PV project in Rajasthan
Observers say that given the issues faced by the power sector such as environmental clearances, land acquisition or fuel availability, it will be a challenge for Reliance Power to complete projects such as the Krishnapatnam project or the 2,400MW gas-based project at Samalkot in Andhra Pradesh which are held up due to fuel issues.
Some of the other projects that the company is currently implementing include the 3,960MW coal-based unit at Chitrangi in Madhya Pradesh and the Tilaiya project in Jharkhand with a similar capacity.
Apart from these projects, Reliance Power also has a hydro portfolio of 5,292MW spread across Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.