ICICI-Videocon loan issue: Bank's Board denies asking CEO Chanda Kochhar to go on leave

ICICI Bank, on Friday in a statement, clarified that its Board has not asked Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chanda Kochhar, to go on indefinite leave, pending an independent enquiry into the Videocon loan row.

The statement followed a report in the Mint on Friday that said the Board had asked Kochhar to go on leave pending an independent enquiry to probe "conflict of interest" allegations against her regarding loans extended to Videocon Group.

The statement said: "The ICICI Bank Board denies having asked Ms. Chanda Kochhar to go on leave. She is on her annual leave which was planned in advance. Further, the Board denies that it has appointed any search committee to find her successor.”

Independent enquiry

The Mint said the enquiry may be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court. It will begin next week and will be completed in two months, a source told the newspaper.

The Mint report stated that information that Kochhar was asked to go on indefinite leave was divulged by a person with direct knowledge of the Board’s decision. The decision was taken based on the advice of a majority of the seven independent directors on the Board, the report said.

On Wednesday, ICICI Bank's Board of Directors had decided to institute a "comprehensive enquiry" to look into an anonymous whistle blower's complaint alleging that  Chanda Kochhar had not adhered to provisions relating to "code of conduct" of the bank.

 ICICI-Videocon loan issue: Banks Board denies asking CEO Chanda Kochhar to go on leave

Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO, ICICI Bank Reuters

In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, the bank said: "The Board of Directors, at its meeting held on 29 May, 2018 decided to institute an enquiry to be headed by an independent and credible person, to examine and enquire into an anonymous whistle blower complaint, disclosing certain information, alleging in substance that Bank's MD and CEO had not adhered to provisions relating to "Code of Conduct" of the bank and legal and regulatory provisions relating to "conflict of interest" over a period of time, as also alleging quid pro quo in the course of her work in dealing with certain customers/borrowers of the Bank."

The bank said the scope of enquiry would be comprehensive and include all relevant matters arising out of and in the course of examination of the facts and wherever warranted, "use of forensic/email reviews and recordal of statement of relevant personnel, etc."

The enquiry would also cover all connected matters in the course of the investigation to bring the matter to a final close.

"In keeping with the Whistle Blower Policy of the bank, Board has mandated its audit committee to take all further actions in the matter to operationalise this decision -- including in particular, appointment if an independent and credible person as Head of the Enquiry, determining the terms of reference of the Enquiry, the period which will be covered by the Enquiry," the bank said.

"The Audit Committee will also, in consultation with the Head of the Enquiry, make arrangements to assist him with independent legal and other professional support as may be required," the bank added.

With inputs from PTI.

Updated Date: Jun 01, 2018 17:51:18 IST