After giving a clean chit to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chanda Kochhar in April, the ICICI Bank board has now decided to institute an independent inquiry into allegations made by a whistleblower, who claimed that she had given out huge loans to certain business groups in exchange for extended benefits to companies run by her husband, said a report in Mint.
Kochhar has been in the eye of a storm over granting a Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon group companies in 2012.
Following a meeting on 29 May, the bank’s board decided that “the investigation will be headed by an independent and credible person and will verify the charges made by the whistleblower that came to light after the bank’s 7 May board meeting”.
The fresh probe comes soon after the Securities and Exchange Board of India issued a notice to ICICI and Kochhar on 24 May for alleged non-compliance of the listing agreement in the Videocon case, which relates to dealings involving the Videocon group and NuPower Renewables, an entity in which Deepak Kochhar, spouse of Chanda Kochhar, has economic interests.
The investigation will verify charges of any impropriety in the lending decisions as alleged by the whistleblower. The bank also said in its stock exchange filing that probe will specifically look at allegations that Kochhar breached the bank’s “code of conduct”, violated regulations on “conflict of interest” and favoured certain borrowers.
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