Dhananjay Shahi to head legal for Baring PE Asia’s India credit arm

Dhananjay Shahi, former senior vice president - legal at Religare Enterprises Ltd, is joining the Indian operations of Baring Private Equity Asia, as head of legal. He will be looking after legal as well as compliance at the firm’s newly set-up lending arm, said a person familiar with the development.

The development came at a time when the Asia-focused private equity firm started its lending vertical under the name of BPEA India Credit, by poaching the entire team from the Religare Credit Advisors.

Recently, the firm also promoted deputy general counsel Kirti Ram Hariharan as general counsel. 

An alumnus of University of Delhi and the University Of San Diego School Of Law, Shahi started his career with Delhi-based law firm Kanth & Associates in 2003. Later he joined Trilegal before moving as in-house counsel at InterGlobe Technologies Ltd from where he joined Religare Enterprise in 2010. 

The move was first reported by LegallyIndia.

Email queries sent to Shahi and Baring Private Equity Asia did not elicit any response till the time of publishing this report. 

"Dhananjay is a seasoned transactional general counsel. His deal and compliance experience with Religare's private debt platform and alternative investment management businesses makes him an ideal fit for Barring Private Equity Asia's India business,” said Karl Fernandes, vice president and head of in-house practice group at legal and governance executive search firm Vahura.

“Dhanajay is calm and non-aggressive but he goes into deep details,” said a partner of a Delhi-based law firm who has worked with him in the past.

Of late, the PE and VC investment space has seen several movements of executives heading legal operations. Recently, Vinay Bhatia, legal head of clean-energy company SunEdison, had joined IL&FS Financial Services.

In October, Vinod Joseph had joined IDFC Alternatives as head of legal from the Brand Capital, the ad-for-equity investment arm of Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL).

Also, in July, Kartikeya Singh quit as deputy general counsel of Bank of America Merrill Lynch to join Altico Capital. In May, Shagoofa Khan, senior director and legal and compliance head at IDFC Alternatives, left to join Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas to head the firm’s fund advisory business.

In April, Deutsche Bank’s senior legal counsel Sapna Bhawnani decided to join Credit Suisse in Mumbai as its joint director and co-head of legal in India. Around the same time, Himanshu Dodeja left Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas to become general counsel at private equity major Blackstone.

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