New Delhi: ICICI Bank will institute an internal probe against its CEO and MD Chanda Kochar, the bank has informed the bourses on Wednesday. The allegations of quid pro quo and conflict of interest will be looked into by an independent committee, the bank resolved in its board meeting held in Mumbai on Tuesday.
The bank said, “In keeping with the Whistle Blowers Policy of the Bank, th Board has mandated its audit committee to take all further action in the mater to operationalise this decision- including in particular, appointment of an independent and credible person as head of the enquiry, determining the terms of reference of the enquiry etc…The enquiry would also cover all connected matters in the course of the investigation to bring the matter to a final close.”
However, the time frame by which this report will be submitted has not been determined as yet. Whistleblower Arvind Gupta had in 2015 written to the Prime Minister and agencies concerned about an alleged quid pro quo involving Deepak Kochar, Chanda Kochhar’s husband, and Venugopal Dhoot, promoter of the Videocon group of companies. He had alleged that ICICI bank gave two loans of Rs 3,250 crore and Rs 660 crore to Venugopal Dhoot and a company alleged to be a front of Dhoot in turn invested Rs 325 crore and Rs 66 crore in Deepak Kochar’s company, NUPower Renewables Limited.
A similar forensic audit was done by another whistleblower involving the Essar group where an Essar subsidiary incorporated in Mauritius, Firstland Holdings, invested Rs 325 crore in NuPower Renewables and a loan of USD 530 million was given to Essar Steel Minnesota LLC in 2010. The committee will be probing this allegation as well.