ICICI Bank loan row: Board lost faith in Chanda Kochhar after husband Deepak's disclosure of dealings with Videocon

ICICI Bank board lost faith in former chief executive officer (CEO) Chanda Kochhar in April last year following her husband Deepak' disclosure acknowledging dealings with Venugopal Dhoot-led Videocon Group, a media report said.

According to The Economic Times, the board found it difficult to believe Chanda Kochhar's explanation over the alleged quid pro quo deal after it received Deepak Kochhar's letter. The newspaper report added that Deepak Kochhar's letter was contrary to Chanda Kochhar’s assertions, subsequently "forcing the board to confront her and revisit her disclosures under the bank’s code of conduct rules."

Earlier this month, Chanda Kochhar was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai for four consecutive days. Kochhar is being probed into the alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning Rs 1,875-crore loan by the bank to the Videocon Group.

According to the Times of India, she told investigators she wasn't aware of her husband's business dealings with Dhoot. Chanda Kochhar told agencies that she “didn’t discuss her bank-related work with her husband or vice-versa, hence there was no question of taking any favour in lieu of the bank loan," the report added.

 ICICI Bank loan row: Board lost faith in Chanda Kochhar after husband Deepaks disclosure of dealings with Videocon

A file photo of Chanda Kochhar. Reuters

On 1 March, the ED had searched premises of Chanda Kochhar and Dhoot in Mumbai and Aurangabad respectively in connection with a money laundering case, an official said. The development came weeks after the ED registered a criminal case against the two for alleged money laundering. The case was registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

On 22 February, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had issued lookout circulars (LOCs) against the Kochhars, and Dhoot. The LOCs were issued after the FIR was filed in the case. LOCs are mandatory in cases where such economic offences are alleged," the official said, adding, "In recent times, keeping an eye on travel plans is a top concern for regulators."

Chanda Kochhar, who was sacked in January as CEO and MD of ICICI Bank nearly four months after her resignation from the key posts, had said that she was utterly disappointed, hurt and shocked by the decision of the Board of Directors of the bank.

"I am utterly disappointed, hurt and shocked by the decision. I have not been given a copy of the report. I reiterate that none of the credit decisions at the bank is unilateral," she had said in a statement.

"ICICI is an institution with established robust processes and systems which involve committee based collective decision making with several professionals of high calibre participating in the decision making. Hence, the organisation design and structure obviate the possibility of a conflict of interest," Kochhar said.

--With agency inputs

Updated Date: Mar 14, 2019 12:30:48 IST