ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector lender, on Wednesday announced that it had ordered an independent investigation into allegations of conflict of interest in Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar’s dealings with certain borrowers, PTI reported.
The decision of the bank’s board of directors comes days after the Securities and Exchange Board of India issued a notice to Kochhar about the bank’s dealings with Videocon Group and NuPower Renewables, a company founded by her husband Deepak Kochhar.
Questions have been raised over a Rs 3,250-crore loan the bank sanctioned to the Videocon Group in 2012. Videocon Group CEO Venugopal Dhoot allegedly provided crores of rupees to NuPower Renewables six months after his company received the loan. The loan was part of the Rs 40,000-crore loan that Videocon secured from a consortium of 20 banks.
In March, the Central Bureau of Investigation initiated a preliminary inquiry to determine whether the bank had violated any law in sanctioning the loan.
The board had then backed Kochhar, claiming that “malicious and unfounded rumours” were being spread to “malign the bank”. However, it announced the inquiry during a meeting on Tuesday after an anonymous whistle-blower levelled allegations against Kochhar. An “independent and credible person” would conduct the inquiry, the board added in its regulatory filings.