Police probe ‘smear campaign’ against ICICI Bank

Police probe ‘smear campaign’ against ICICI Bank


Mumbai: Police in Mumbai said Tuesday they were investigating claims that a “bear cartel" of brokers tried to bring down ICICI Bank in a text message, email and Internet smear campaign.

A 22-page complaint was submitted to police, alleging that rogue brokers spread malicious rumours about the bank’s financial status, causing a run on some branches and sending share prices plummetting.

According to the complaint, one of the text messages read: “Kindly withdraw all your deposits and cash in account with ICICI Bank as ICICI Bank already rushed to RBI for insolvency."

The bank likened the incident to a “new form of economic terrorism" designed to hit public confidence and compromise national economic interests, the Press Trust of India said.

Mumbai police chief Rakesh Maria was quoted as saying that the force’s economic and cyber crime units would probe the matter and would liaise with India’s financial regulators.

ICICI boss K.V. Kamath on Monday moved to reassure depositors fearful for their savings, stressing that the bank was secure. He was supported by a positive investor note from global credit ratings agency Standard and Poor.

The bank’s shares surged 17% as a result, and as global markets bounced back from last week’s heavy losses.