Bad news for Chanda Kochhar: Law firm pulls back clean chit, says ICICI Bank

By: | Published: October 24, 2018 5:32 AM

ICICI Bank on Tuesday said a leading law firm has taken down a 2016 report exonerating the bank’s former head Chanda Kochhar from charges of nepotism and conflict of interest with regard to loans given to the Videocon Group.

Chanda Kochhar

ICICI Bank on Tuesday said a leading law firm has taken down a 2016 report exonerating the bank’s former head Chanda Kochhar from charges of nepotism and conflict of interest with regard to loans given to the Videocon Group. The law firm in question is understood to be Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

In a notification to the stock exchanges, ICICI Bank said the then chairman of the board of directors of the bank had engaged a law firm for conducting an inquiry into the allegations made against Kochhar in a 2016 media report. All concerned parties cooperated with the inquiry and furnished necessary records, documents and statements. The law firm submitted its report in December 2016 stating that it had found no evidence of nepotism and conflict of interest on the part of Kochhar and the matter was treated as closed.

As similar reports accusing Kochhar of malfeasance surfaced in March 2018, the bank’s board issued a statement expressing confidence in her.

“Subsequent to additional whistle-blower allegations and further information made available to the Bank, the Board of Directors determined the need for a fresh inquiry, which was announced on May 30, 2018. Further, the Bank informed the law firm about the said developments, whereupon the law firm expressed that its earlier report would no longer be valid,” ICICI Bank said on Tuesday.

Kochhar stepped down as managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of ICICI Bank earlier this month.
Former Supreme Court judge B Srikrishna has been appointed to conduct an investigation into the charges against Kochhar with respect to the loan given to the Venugopal Dhoot-owned Videocon Group.

In 2012, ICICI Bank had extended a loan of `3,250 crore to the Videocon Group. After the loan was granted, NuPower Renewables, which is run by Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar, received `64 crore from Videocon’s promoter through a series of investment vehicles, allegedly as quid pro quo.

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