ICICI Bank has decided to conduct an internal enquiry after an anonymous whistleblower’s complaint against its managing director and chief executive officer, Chanda Kochhar, with regard to allegations of conflict of interest and a lack of disclosures. There are allegations that her husband’s company, NuPower Renewables, received a loan on a quid pro quo basis from the Videocon Group’s Chairman Venugopal Dhoot. ICICI Bank gave loans worth Rs 3250 to Videocon Group.
Earlier also a complaint was made in 2016 by investor Arvind Gupta pointing out the conflict of interest in loans given to the Videocon group.
ICICI Bank Limited informed the National Stock Exchange regarding the decision taken by its Board of Directors on 29th May, 2018. The statement says, “It is decided to institute an enquiry to be headed by an independent and credible person, to examine and enquire into an additional anonymous whistleblower complaint, disclosing certain information, alleging in substance that Bank’s MD & 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, as also alleging quid pro quo in the course of her work in dealing with certain customers/borrowers of the Bank.”
ICICI Bank Chairman M.K. Sharma earlier said on March 29, that reports alleging nepotism by Kochhar were unfounded and malicious in nature. Sharma said that no individual bank employee could influence decisions of the credit committee.
The statement issued today further reads, “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/email reviews and recordal of statements of relevant personnel etc.”
“The enquiry would also cover all connected matters in the course of the investigation to bring the matter to a final close. In keeping with the Whistle Blower Policy of the Bank, Board has mandated its Audit Committee to take all further actions in the matter to operationalize 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, the period which will be covered by the Enquiry etc. The Audit Committee will also, in consultation with the Head of the Enquiry, make arrangements to assist him with independent legal and other professional support as may be required.”