The head of Morgan Stanley's global real estate fund in India is stepping down to explore setting up his own fund, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said, joining a recent movement of top executives in the Indian private equity sector to raise their own funds.

Naresh Naik, managing director and India Head of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, joined the U.S. bank in 2008 as executive director and head of real estate in India.

The sources declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media as the information was not yet public.

Both Morgan Stanley and Naik declined to comment.

Many top executives of global private equity funds in India have over the past year or so left to set up their own funds.

In September, Manish Kejriwal, India head of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings , resigned to launch a new fund.

Others who have left their employers to start their own funds include P.R. Srinivasan, former India head of Citi Venture Capital International; Subbu Subramaniam, a former partner at Baring Private Equity India; Rajesh Khanna, former Warburg Pincus managing director and India head; and Ranjeet Nabha, former managing director and CEO of India operations at W.L. Ross.

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Naik was head of asset management for Lehman Brothers in India, where he played a senior role in the firm's real estate private equity group.

Morgan Stanley has invested about $750 million in Indian real estate, and intends to invest another $250 million by the end of this fiscal year, said one of the sources.

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