Chanda Kochhar case: Now ICICI Bank to probe allegations against its chief
The ICICI Bank said the enquiry will be headed by an independent and credible person, adding "The scope of enquiry would be comprehensive and include all relevant matters arising out of and in the course of examination of the facts and wherever warranted, use of forensics/e-mail reviews and recordal of statements of relevant personnel etc."
In the case involving ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar for extending Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon in 2012 and the possible role of her husband Deepak Kochhar, the private sector lender today is said to have instituted an independent enquiry into the allegations levelled by an anonymous whistle-blower. In a regulatory filing, the ICICI Bank said the enquiry will be headed by an independent and credible person, adding "The scope of enquiry would be comprehensive and include all relevant matters arising out of and in the course of examination of the facts and wherever warranted, use of forensics/e-mail reviews and recordal of statements of relevant personnel etc."
The allegations are related to 'conflict of interest' over a time and 'quid pro quo' in course of Chanda Kochhar's work in dealing with certain borrowers. A few days ago, market regulator Sebi also served a notice on Chanda Kochhar on dealings of the bank with Videocon Group and Nupower, an entity in which her husband Deepak Kochhar has economic interests. The private sector lender had said that appropriate response would be submitted to the Sebi, while submitting in a stock exchange filing.
The CBI has already launched a preliminary investigation into the case. Reports have alleged that Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot invested Rs 64 crore in Nu Power Renewables, a firm owned by Deepak Kochhar, after Videocon Group secured a loan from a consortium of banks, including ICICI.
The bank has denied any wrongdoing in the loan stating it was part of a consortium of lenders that extended the facility to Videocon. In the earlier filing, it said, "The MD & CEO and the Bank received a Notice from SEBI on May 24, 2018 ... Requiring responses on matters relating to alleged non-compliance with certain provisions of the erstwhile Listing Agreement and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015."
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Notably, ICICI Bank Chairman M K Sharma had last month said that the board has full confidence in Chanda Kochhar, ruling out any quid pro quo as alleged with regard to loan given to Videocon group. The bank had also clarified that none of investors of NuPower Renewables is a borrower of ICICI Bank.