ICICI board orders probe into allegations against Chanda Kochhar

May 31, 2018, 08:33 IST | Agencies

Enquiry ordered on complaint by anonymous whistle-blower; probe to look into allegations of 'conflict of interest' and 'quid pro quo' against MD and CEO

 MD and CEO of the ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar. Pic/AFP
MD and CEO of the ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar. Pic/AFP

The board of India's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has ordered an independent probe into allegations of 'conflict of interest' and 'quid pro quo' in bank's MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar's dealing with certain borrowers. There are allegations of involvement of Kochhar and her family members in a loan provided to Videocon group on a quid pro quo basis. It was alleged that Videocon Group pumped money into NuPower Renewables, a firm owned by Deepak Kochhar, husband of Chanda Kochhar. Last week, market regulator Sebi had served a notice on Kochhar on dealings of the bank with Videocon Group and Nupower.

The enquiry was ordered by the board, at its meeting on Tuesday, on a complaint by an anonymous whistle-blower against Kochhar, the bank said in a regulatory filing yesterday. "...the enquiry to be headed by an independent and credible person (will) examine and enquire into an additional anonymous whistle-blower complaint...," it said.

The scope of enquiry would be comprehensive and include all relevant matters arising out of and in course of examination of the facts and wherever warranted, use of forensics/email reviews and record of statements of relevant personnel, it said. The whistle-blower had alleged that the bank's MD and CEO had not adhered to provisions relating to code of conduct of the bank and legal and regulatory provisions relating to conflict of interest over a period of time and also alleged quid pro quo in the course of Kochhar's work in dealing with certain customers/borrowers of the bank.

Interestingly in April, the board had expressed full confidence in Kochhar and ruled out any quid pro quo as alleged with regard to certain loan given to Videocon group. The regulator filing further said the enquiry will cover all "connected matters" in the course of investigations to bring the matter to a final close.

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