Chanda Kochhar probe report by November, says ICICI Bank
Final decision on chief executive’s fate will be taken after receiving the panel’s report, says Chaturvedi
New Delhi: The committee set up under retired Supreme Court judge Justice B.N. Srikrishna to probe allegations against ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive officer Chanda Kochhar is expected to submit its report in the next two-and-a-half months, the bank’s non-executive chairman, G.C. Chaturvedi said on Thursday.
Kochhar’s continuation at ICICI Bank depends on the findings of the panel.
A final decision on Kochhar’s fate will be taken after receiving the panel’s report and she continues to be the bank’s managing director and CEO, Chaturvedi said on the sidelines of the India Banking Conclave.
ICICI Bank had appointed Srikrishna to investigate allegations of conflict of interest and quid pro quo against Kochhar in the Videocon loan case.
Chaturvedi said the bank will reply to the Videocon notice by capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) only after receiving the panel’s report.
Chaturvedi, a retired bureaucrat, took over as the chairman in June after M.K. Sharma’s tenure ended.
Sebi had initiated proceedings against ICICI Bank for non-disclosure of information in the alleged conflict of interest in the grant of loans to the Videocon Group.
Sebi had sent the bank and Kochhar a notice alleging violation of Listing Obligation and Disclosure Requirements (LODR) and for not making adequate disclosures.
Kochhar had proceeded on leave till the completion of the investigation. The bank had appointed Sandeep Bakhshi, the head of its life insurance arm, as chief operating officer of the bank. Bakhshi will run the bank and report to the board while Kochhar remains on leave.
The controversy pertains to the alleged conflict of interest in a ₹3,250 crore loan given by ICICI Bank to Videocon Group. The money was part of a ₹40,000 crore loan given by a consortium of 20 banks in 2012.
Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot allegedly gave ₹64 crore in 2010 through a fully owned entity to NuPower Renewables, which he set up with Kochhar’s husband, Deepak Kochhar, and two of his kin. Dhoot allegedly transferred proprietorship of the firm to a trust owned by Deepak Kochhar for ₹9 lakh, six months after he received the loan from ICICI Bank.
The Srikrishna panel, has started investigating, among other issues, three of the most serious allegations made by a whistleblower—impropriety in lending decisions, conflict of interest in loans made to business groups, and that Kochhar favoured certain borrowers.
More than 1,000 NPA accounts are under the scanner, Mint reported on 12 July.
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