ICICI Bank to probe allegations against CEO Chanda Kochhar
ICICI Bank Ltd said on Wednesday it will institute an inquiry into the allegations raised by an anonymous whistleblower against Chief Executive Chanda Kochhar.
ICICI, India's third-biggest lender by assets, said the probe, headed by an independent person, would examine allegations that the chief executive did not adhere to provisions relating to the bank's code of conduct and whether her actions involved "conflict of interest".
ICICI had on May 25 said that Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had sought responses from the company and Kochhar on alleged non-compliance of the "erstwhile 'Listing Agreement' and the 'Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015'".
According to a BSE filing, SEBI sought the reply via a notice issued to the private lender and its MD and CEO on May 24.
As per the securities market regulator's LODR regulations, all listed entities are mandated to immediately disclose relevant and important information to stock exchanges.
The notice by SEBI had been issued "based on information furnished by the bank or its MD and CEO to diverse queries made by SEBI concerning dealings between the bank and Videocon Group and certain dealings allegedly between Videocon Group and Nupower, an entity in which Deepak Kochhar, spouse of MD and CEO has economic interests," the bank said.
The bank said that appropriate responses would be submitted to SEBI in accordance with regulation.
The SEBI notice comes more than a month after nepotism and conflict of interest allegations were levelled against Kochhar. It has been alleged that Kochhar had wrongfully granted a loan to Videocon Group and that her husband's company - NuPower Renewables - received a loan from the Videocon Group's Chairman Venugopal Dhoot on a quid-pro-quo basis.
Chanda Kochhar on May 7 had said that private lender works under and abides by all regulatory norms and that it has been fully cooperating with regulatory and investigative agencies.
The bank has backed Kochhar, calling the rumours "malicious and unfounded".