NEW DELHI: Raghuram Rajan headed search panel has zeroed in on a successor to RBI deputy governor KC Chakrabarty and PNB chairman KR Kamath is believed to be top in the reckoning.

Besides RBI governor Rajan, financial services secretary Rajiv Takru and other expert members on last Friday interviewed CMDs of nine public sector banks here, an official privy to the selection process said.

The panel called those chiefs who have been heading a bank for more than one year. Kamath, being the senior most among the nine bankers with six years on the top job, is the front-runner for the post, the official added.

The vacancy will arise as Chakrabarty has requested to be relieved on April 25, slightly earlier than his scheduled term end on June 30. The Reserve Bank has four deputy governors — two from within the organisation, one economist and one banker.PNB chairman and managing director K R Kamath is the senior most among all the nine bankers with experience of about 6 years.The search panel will now recommend the name to the government for approval. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by the Prime Minister, will take a final view on the recommendation, the official said.

The others who have thrown their hats into the ring for the RBI Deputy Governor’s post are the CMDs of Bank of Baroda (S C Mundra), UCO Bank (Arun Kaul), Bank of India (V R Iyer), Oriental Bank of Commerce (S C Bansal), Indian Bank (T M Bhasin), Dena Bank (Ashwani Kumar), Indian Overseas Bank (M Narendra) and Canara Bank (R K Dubey).

An RBI deputy governor can be appointed for five years or till the age of 62, whichever is earlier. To be eligible for the post, a candidate needs to be less than 60 years old.

After Chakrabarty’s exit there will be two vacancies for Deputy Governors in RBI. Government is yet to find a replacement for Anand Sinha who retired in January.