Along with some early signs of revival in deal-making, India private equity (PE) industry is also seeing an uptick in people movement.

Mahesh Chhabria, a partner looking after growth capital investments for British PE major 3i Group Plc in India, joins the list of professionals who have moved on to new assignments in recent months.

Chhabria, VCCircle has learned, is joining Actis, one of the oldest PE firms operating in India. At 3i, Chhabria focused on sectors like media and healthcare and worked on deals like OOH Media, UFO Moviez and Siro Clinpharm.

The former co-head of investment banking at Enam, Chhabria will be joining Actis in April. Emails sent to Actis and 3i Group remained unanswered when this story was published.

It remains to be seen what role Chhabria will play at Actis, which has been increasingly focusing on control transactions. Some of Actis' control deals include Halonix, Paras Pharmaceuticals and Nilgiri Dairy Farm. Its growth capital investments include National Stock Exchange and Dalmia Cements.

Data from VCCEdge, the research platform of VCCircle, suggests that India's PE investments dropped over 60% to around $4.2 billion in 2009 following the global financial crisis. But, top PE honchos have been predicting rapid revival with the deal pipeline looking robust for the current year.

Talent acquisition and movement appears to be a core part of this revival. The increase in lateral-level people movement has been seen as a function of new funds setting shop, existing funds strengthening their teams and more overseas funds looking to set up their India presence.

Neeraj Bhargava, former CEO of outsourcing firm WNS, stepped down from the BPO firm to join former Candover India head Harsha Raghavan in setting up Steer Capital. Amitabh Chakraborty, former president of equity at Religare Securities, joined as MD & chief investment officer of Kitara Capital.

Other professionals from various private equity firms like ICICI Venture Funds Management Co. Ltd have also moved on in recent times. Rajiv Shukla, a director of investments at the PE firm, recently left to join a lifescience-focused global private equity fund as its partner. Ramu Kennedy, a principal at ICICI Venture, also quit to join a new venture called E2E Group, which offers consulting and advisory services to entrepreneurs. Avigo Capital Partners recently appointed S Harikrishnan, a former Lazard and UTI Ventures executive, as an investment director.

Large PE firms are also increasingly looking to add operating partners to help portfolio companies. Two PE majors, TPG Capital and New Silk Route, recently added domain experts. TPG recently appointed Gunender Kapur, former president and CEO of the food & grocery division of Reliance Retail, as senior advisor while NSR roped in Sanjeev Chachondia, who has worked with companies like BPL Mobile Tata Teleservices, as its operating partner. In another movement in realty, former South Asia Real Estate Group chief investment officer Raj Inamdar joined Red Fort Capital as a principal.

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