Former ICICI Bank Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar on Wednesday said she was disappointed and shocked after an independent inquiry conducted by Justice (retired) BN Srikrishna concluded that she had violated the private lender’s code of conduct.
Earlier in the evening, the bank said Kochhar’s resignation would be treated as “termination for cause” after the inquiry report said there was lack of diligence on her part regarding annual disclosures. The bank said it would stop the payment of unpaid benefits, including bonus, to Kochhar and retrieve all bonuses paid between April 2009 and March 2018.
Kochhar claimed she had not been given the copy of the report. “I reiterate that none of the credit decisions at the bank are unilateral,” she said in a statement. “ICICI is an institution with established robust processes and systems which involve committee based collective decision making with several professionals of high caliber participating in the decision making. Hence the organisation design and structure obviate the possibility of conflict of interest.”
Kochhar resigned in October after questions were raised about a Rs 3,250-crore loan that the bank had given the Videocon group in 2012. Six months after the loan was sanctioned, Videocon Chief Executive Officer Venugopal Dhoot allegedly provided crores of rupees to NuPower, a company founded by Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kocchar.
Last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a case against Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar, and Dhoot. The CBI officer leading inquiries in the case was transferred on January 23, a day after signing the first information report.
Kochhar said she had served the bank for 34 years. “I have never shied away from taking tough decisions whenever required to be taken in the best interest of the organisation,” she added. “This decision from the bank has caused me immense hurt and pain.”