ICICI Bank case: Even as India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank faces allegations of code of conduct violations by MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, will the government intervene to resolve the issue?
ICICI Bank case: Even as India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank faces allegations of conflict of interest and possible improprieties by MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, the government has said that it will not interfere in the bank’s affairs. “We will maintain complete non-interference in ICICI Bank affairs. We are just observing it from outside,” an official told The Indian Express in response to a query on suggestions that the government should intervene in in the wake of these allegations.
On Friday, the ICICI Bank Board denied having asked Ms Chanda Kochhar to go on leave. “The ICICI Bank Board denies having asked Ms Chanda Kochhar to go on leave. She is on her annual leave which was planned in advance. Further, the Board denies that it has appointed any search committee to find her successor,” ICICI Bank said in an exchange filing.
The board’s denial came after media reports said that Chanda Kochhar was asked to go on leave in order to facilitate the probe. Meanwhile, the board also said that it would initiate an independent probe into the matter concerning the conduct of Chanda Kochhar with regard to loans given to the Videocon Group. Earlier, a whistle-blower had reportedly alleged that Kochhar may have violated the bank’s code of conduct and provisions relating to conflict of interest while disbursing loans to the Videocon Group. The conflict may have arisen because of financial transactions between the Videocon Group and Deepak Kochhar, husband of Chanda Kochhar.
According to the report in The Indian Express, the remarks by the official, who is aware of the government’s position on the issue, is significant since the government has a nominee on the bank’s board. “The government has maintained a similar stance of non-interference in matters connected to insolvency proceedings going on in NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal). Let the processes take care of these matters,” the newspaper reported the official as saying.