The independent audit committee investigating the alleged irregularities in 31 NPA accounts of ICICI Bank has hired a law firm to assist the panel, an official said today. “An independent law firm has been appointed by the audit committee looking into the matter,” said a bank official on the condition of anonymity. He said however that as the audit committee comprises the bank’s independent directors, the bank is not aware of the name of the law firm hired in this matter that is under investigation.
As per reports, law firm Panag & Babu has been roped in by the audit committee. However, when contacted, the firm’s spokesperson declined to comment. ICICI Bank said in June that it had received an anonymous complaint which alleged irregularities with respect to 31 borrower accounts, leading to incorrect asset classification.
The audit committee of the board of directors of the bank has three members chaired by Uday Chitale, Dileep Choksi (alternate chairperson) and Radhakrishnan Nair. “Further actions in this matter are being/will be taken as directed by the Audit Committee,” the bank had said in a stock exchange filing of June.
All the 31 accounts were classified as non-performing between the year ended March 31, 2012 and the year ended March 31, 2017. The aggregate loans outstanding at March 31, 2018 were Rs 6,082 crore (USD 898 million), about 1.1 per cent of gross loans. Separately, ICICI Bank’s CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar is facing an independent enquiry in connections with loan given to Videocon Group and has gone for leave pending the probe completion.