With Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee refusing to grant extension to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chief M S Verma, officials say Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd chief Narinder Sharma is likely to be appointed to the post.
Sharma has served in Trai for five years in the past.
Other contenders for the regulator's job include ex-telecommunications secretary Shyamal Ghosh, who now looks after the ministry's universal service obligation cell, and one of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd's outgoing directors, Kranti Kumar.
K H Khan, a director on MTNL's board and former chief general manager for the Delhi circle, is tipped to succeed Sharma. J M Mishra, who heads MTNL's cellular business, is the other contender for the post.
With many of BSNL's directors, including current chief Prithipal Singh, still functioning on an ad hoc basis, the telecommunications ministry is going to appoint a three-member screening committee to regularise these posts within the next few days.
A decision is yet to be taken on whether Singh will continue with this job since he has also been cleared by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet for one of the posts as member of the department of telecommunications.If Singh moves to the department of telecommunications, S K Jain, who is a senior deputy director-general in BSNL's planning division, is believed to be the front-runner for the chief's job.