ICICI Bank Chairman MK Sharma in an internal inquiry conducted two years ago had cleared CEO Chanda Kochhar of any wrongdoing in Videocon loan case, the Economic Times reported today. The findings of the report was shared with the Prime Minister's Office and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
"The chairman had personally conducted an enquiry along with a couple of members way back in 2016 -- nothing dubious was found," the ET reported citing a source.
Confirming the report, an ICICI Bank spokesperson told the business daily: "... after taking note of a report in a section of media in 2016, ICICI Bank chairman had undertaken an elaborate review of systems and process followed at the bank with respect to corporate loan proposals. The review also included specifics of the banking consortium lending to Videocon group in 2012."
The enquiry was ordered after whistle-blower Arvind Gupta had alleged quid pro quo and favouritism in Rs 3250 crore loan to Videocon.
Later, the whistle-blower wrote a letter to the PMO in which he accused Chanda Kochhar of extending loans to the Videocon Group both in India and abroad 'through companies established in tax heavens like the Cayman Islands and Mauritius'.
Gupta had alleged that Chanda Kochhar's husband Deepak Kochhar, who owns NuPower Renewable Group, amassed wrongful personal gains when Kochhar-led ICICI Bank sanctioned the loans to various private companies belonging to the Videocon Industries Limited.
However, the ICICI Bank board denied the charges and urged the public not to be misled by the rumours which were being spread to malign the bank and its top management. According to the report, the board of directors of ICICI Bank decided to back MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar against all the allegations on the basis of an internal evaluation carried out by chairman MK Sharma.
Currently, the CBI and Income Tax Department are looking into the allegations made by the whistle-blower. Last month, the I-T dept asked Deepak Kochhar to furnish all the details regarding personal finances, income tax returns for the past many years, and business transactions with NuPower Renewables.
Recently, the CBI questioned Chanda Kochhar's brother-in-law Rajiv Kochhar in Videocon loan case. Rajiv Kochhar is the founder of Avista Advisory which is alleged to have got the mandate to restructure foreign currency denominated debt deals worth over USD 1.7 billion of seven companies including the Videocon Group over the last six years.