ICICI Bank to go for independent probe into allegations against Chanda Kochhar

ICICI bank

ICICI bank

ICICI Bank to go for an independent probe into allegations against Chanda Kochhar

Altering its stance on an inquiry into the conduct of ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive officer Chanda Kochhar with regard to loans given to the Videocon Group, the board of the lender said on Wednesday it would initiate an independent probe into the matter. However, the board’s statement did not mention whether Kochhar would proceed on leave during the period of the inquiry. A whistle-blower has alleged Kochhar may have violated the bank’s code of conduct and provisions relating to conflict of interest while disbursing loans to the Videocon Group. The conflict may have arisen because of financial transactions between the Videocon Group and Deepak Kochhar, husband of Chanda Kochhar. In March, the board, headed by MK Sharma, had reposed faith in Kochhar saying it had found ICICI Bank’s internal processes that approved loans robust. In a strong endorsement of its CEO, the board ruled out a scope for any favoritism, nepotism or a quid pro quo. In 2008, Venugopal Dhoot had set up a company with Deepak Kochhar, called NuPower Renewables. Subsequently, he is understood to have given a loan of Rs64 crore to this company before he transferred its ownership to a trust headed by Deepak Kochhar for just Rs 9 lakh. In 2012, ICICI Bank had given a loan of Rs 3,250 crore to the Videocon Group for the group’s oil and gas-related capital expenditure requirements. This was as part of a consortium loan in which 20 banks participated and ICICI Bank’s share is less than10% of the total credit.

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