The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Tuesday said ICICI Bank and its managing director and chief executive officer Chanda Kochhar have indicated they would like to settle by consent the matter of loans extended to the Venugopal Dhoot-promoted Videocon Group. Ananta Barua, whole-time member, Sebi, said on the sidelines of a press conference that no formal letter had been filed yet by Kochhar or the lender.
An ICICI Bank spokeperson said that the bank had not filed any application for a settlement.
Sebi had earlier issued a show-cause notice to Kochhar and the bank regarding an alleged violation of disclosure norms in the Videocon case. Reacting to questions from shareholders at the bank’s recently held annual general meeting, chief operating officer Sandeep Bakhshi had said, “We want to clarify that the matter is pending at adjudication and the bank has not received any notice.” He also added that Kochhar has not been attending office and the bank will wait for the justice BN Srikrishna panel’s investigation report before taking any action. The ICICI Bank spokesperson added that the bank had submitted its respose to Sebi’s show-cause notice.
Kochhar is currently on leave after ICICI Bank decided to probe allegations of conflict of interest and quid pro quo against her while dealing with certain customers or borrowers of the bank, including the Videocon Group.
In 2012, ICICI Bank had extended a loan of Rs 3,250 crore to the Videocon Group. After the loan was granted, NuPower Renewables, which is run by Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar, received Rs 64 crore from Videocon’s promoter through a series of investment vehicles, allegedly as quid pro quo. Charges of conflict of interest with respect to the loan to Videocon have also been raised in multiple whistleblower statements.
After repeatedly coming out in support of Kochhar in March and April this year, the ICICI Bank board decided to send her on leave pending the investigation by the Srikrishna committee. Shares of ICICI Bank ended at Rs 318.70 each on the BSE on Tuesday, down 2.07% from the previous close. The Sebi statement came after trading hours.