ICICI Bank Chief Executive Officer Ms. Chanda Kochhar will reportedly remain on leave until the probe in the Videocon loan case goes on. Ms. Kochhar will be on leave to facilitate an independent inquiry regarding charges of impropriety and favoritism. Meanwhile, the group’s life insurance head Sandeep Bakhshi will be serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the lender.
Further as part of the reshuffle in the top level management, the bank’s Executive Director N.S. Kannan will handle the position of Chief Executive of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company subject to regulatory approvals.
The bank said in a statement that in line with the highest level of governance and corporate standards, Ms. Chanda Kochhar will be on leave until the probe is completed. During this time, the COO Sandeep Bakshi will report to the Board.
Interestingly until now, the board was backing Chanda Kochhar amidst a long list of charges but during the second round of charges on May 3 when the accusations of a whistleblower came to light, the board decided to carry out an independent investigation and asked Kochhar to step aside for the meantime.
ICICI has been in limelight because of the conflict of interest allegations made by a whistleblower over loans given to Videocon Industries which Kocchar had denied. It was alleged that she didn’t disclose the business dealings of her husband Deepak Kocchar with Dhoots of Videocon.
Reportedly, Justice Srikrishna, a former judge of Supreme Court will head the committee that will be probing into these instances whether the business dealings between Deepak Kocchar’s NuPower and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon were disclosed as per the bank’s code of conduct.
The case came into light in 2016 when an investor named Arvind Gupta write letters to the PMO, RBI Governor, and other authorities seeking inquiry into the transactions between ICICI Bank, Videocon Group, and NuPower Renewables.
As per his allegations, a company related to Videocon Chairman Venugopal invested INR 64 Crores in NuPower in 2010. Later the proprietorship of the company was transferred to a trust owned by Deepak Kochhar for INR 9 Lakhs after Videocon received a loan amounting to INR 3250 Crores from ICICI in 2012.