Justice (retd) BN Srikrishna Committee, set up to probe quid pro quo link in the Rs 3,250 crore loan given to Videocon, has found that former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar worked in violation of the ICICI Bank's Code of Conduct. The report, which was discussed in the ICICI Bank board meeting on Wednesday, found her role in violation of the bank's "framework for dealing with conflict of interest and fiduciary duties, and in terms of applicable Indian laws, rules and regulations".
After a due consideration of the enquiry report, the ICICI Bank board has also decided to treat the separation of Kochhar from the bank as 'termination of cause', which implies the revocation of all her existing and future entitlements such as any unpaid amounts, unpaid bonuses, and medical benefits. The board has also decided to take back all bonuses paid to her from April 2009 until March 2018. Chanda Kochhar, however, has said that she is "utterly disappointed, shocked and hurt" over the board's decision.
The enquiry report also concluded that "her lack of diligence with respect to annual disclosures as required by the bank in terms of its internal policies...implies that the bank's processes were rendered ineffective by her approach to such disclosures and avoidance of conflict," the bank, in a statement issued to the stock exchange said. The statement, however, added that there were no implications of the enquiry report on its published financial statements (Indian or US GAAP) for the relevant periods.
The much-awaited report by the former Supreme Court Justice BN Srikrishna committee on the role of former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar in the Rs 3,250-crore loan given to Videocon was submitted on Wednesday, following which the board met to discuss further course of action.
Meanwhile, Chanda Kochhar has issued a statement, saying she has been "utterly disappointed, hurt and shocked by the decision" of the ICICI Bank board. "I have not been given a copy of the report. I reiterate that none of the credit decisions at the bank are unilateral. 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."
She said during her 34 years of career with ICICI Bank, she never shied away from taking tough decisions for the bank's best interest. "This decision from the bank has caused me immense hurt and pain," she said.
The CBI FIR filed on January 22 had also revealed Chanda and the former ICICI Bank directors, including Bakhshi, were a part of the panel that sanctioned loans amounting to Rs 1,575 crore to Dhoot-led Videocon Group. This also led to a wrongful gain to borrowers and the accused, says the FIR, justifying the need to investigate the role of these committee members.
The CBI probe in the case was started after ICICI shareholder and activist Arvind Gupta alleged in 2018 that Chanda Kochhar influenced a Rs 3,250 crore loan to the Dhoot-led Videocon group in 2012 in return for a deal in NuPower Renewables and Supreme Energy, a clean-energy firm run by her husband Deepak Kochhar.
Edited by Manoj Sharma