The Bombay high court on Monday granted former ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kochhar time till 9 December to amend her petition challenging the termination of her service by the private sector lender.
Senior advocate Vikram Nankani, appearing on behalf of Kochhar, sought permission to amend the petition in view of the reply filed by ICICI Bank. On Monday, senior counsel Darius Khambata filed an affidavit on behalf of ICICI Bank saying the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had approved Kochhar’s termination post-facto. The bank also produced the RBI approval letter as part of its submission.
Following this, Kochhar’s counsel requested the court to allow his client to amend the petition, which had termed the termination of her services as a contravention of the law on the grounds that it did not have the previous approval of RBI. Section 35B of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, requires prior approval of the central bank before terminating the services of the managing director of a bank.
She also said the lender had denied the agreed remuneration to her, although her plea for early retirement, with effect from 4 October 2018, was accepted by the board of directors of ICICI Bank.
Kochhar had moved the high court against ICICI Bank on 30 November. A committee led by former Supreme Court Justice B.N. Srikrishna was appointed to investigate the allegations of quid pro quo involving Videocon Industries, which had taken loans from ICICI Bank and subsequently invested the money in NuPower Renewables, a company founded by Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar.
While the panel indicted Chanda Kochhar, the board terminated her employment earlier this year after taking into consideration the enquiry committee report. The board also informed Kochhar that it has decided to treat her separation from the bank as ‘termination for cause’ under the internal policies, and also asked her to return the entire amount of ₹7.42 crore paid to her in bonuses between April 2009 and March 2018.