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 has been submitted to the ICICI Board. The ICICI board, which is holding a meeting right now, could make the details regarding the report public anytime soon. Reports say the ICICI Bank board is also likely to discuss the issue related to a recent FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar, Videocon Chairman Venugopal Dhoot, and others for the alleged criminal conspiracy.
The board could also discuss the role of other top officials to see if they violated any credit policy norms set by the bank. The preliminary probe by the CBI had recently sought an inquiry into the role of current CEO Sandeep Bakhshi, and former top bosses Zarin Daruwala and KV Kamath, as they were part of the ICICI committees that sanctioned the loans to the Videocon group.
The CBI FIR filed on January 22 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 report, which was supposed to be released in November, could have far-reaching consequences for ICICI Bank. The probe was started after ICICI shareholder and activist Arvind Gupta alleged in 2018 that Chanda Kochhar influenced an 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.
Before that, his eight-page letter (on March 15, 2016) also brought those allegations to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister, RBI Governor, Sebi Chairman, Enforcement Directorate and CBI Chief, besides others. NuPower Renewables was originally founded as a 50-50 JV between Dhoot family and Kochhar and Advani families (Chanda Kochhar's brother, Mahesh Advani), he added.
Edited by Manoj Sharma