All property dealings by Chanda Kochhars since as CEO of ICICI under probe

All property dealings by Chanda Kochhars since as CEO of ICICI under probe

Courtesy : Mumbai Bureau05/09/2018 08:30

Mumbai: The probe into charges against Chanda Kochhar will cover all property dealings by the Kochhar family since she took over as CEO of ICICI. The board has asked Justice BN Srikrishna, who is conducting the investigation, to look into all allegations against Kochhar, said two people familiar with the matter.

It has asked Srikrishna to examine whether properties and assets acquired by the Kochhar family since she took over as CEO were purchased at concessional or lower than prevailing market prices. He will also look into possible banking relationships and the terms of loans or banking facilities enjoyed by builders or sellers of these assets with ICICI Bank “That is correct.

I am heading an investigation into several allegations made by a whistleblower against her,” Justice Srikrishna told Media house. Kochhar took charge as CEO of the bank in 2009.

“The audit committee believes that the enquiry be done fully rather than being carried out in instalments,” a person aware of the decision told. 

The board of ICICI Bank ordered an independent enquiry after complaints that Kochhar violated the bank’s code of conduct and rules on conflict of interest and was part of quid pro quo dealings with certain bank borrowers. 

The audit committee received letters from two persons — a shareholder and an employee. The whistleblower alleged that Kochhar was on the bank’s credit committee that sanctioned a loan of Rs 3,250 crore to the  Group in 2012.

Link Between Assets & Loans 

Its promoter Venugopal Dhoot was one of the first investors in NuPower Renewables promoted by her husband Deepak Kochhar in 2008. Dhoot subsequently sold his stake but firms controlled by him or associates maintained a relationship with NuPower till early 2013, when control was finally transferred to a trust controlled by Deepak Kochhar for a small sum. The lender and Chanda Kochhar have denied any wrongdoing.

The complaint also alleges that the bank has given loans to certain entities and Kochhar has got concessional rates on the property she bought from them.

“The probe will have to establish the link between the assets acquired and the loans that were given to the builders,” the second person said. “The audit committee also examined the allegations made by an employee in his whistleblower complaint on hiding of NPAs in the SME accounts. There is no materiality in the allegations. The deviation is far less compared to the size of the balance sheet.” 

ICICI Bank chairman GC Chaturvedi recently said the Srikrishna panel report was expected in two and a half months. 
 

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