After an independent enquiry conducted by Justice Srikrishna Committee indicted former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar in the controversial Rs 3,250-crore loan for the Videocon Group, the bank on Wednesday decided to treat her resignation as termination and revoked all her existing and future entitlements.
Kochhar had taken an early retirement last October.
The board set up by the bank has also decided to take steps for “clawback of all bonuses paid to her between April 2009 and March 2018, and to take such further actions as may be warranted in the matter”.
An independent enquiry conducted by retired Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna indicted Kochhar, who had led the bank for nearly a decade, for violation of bank’s code of conduct and conflict of interest duties in the case.
Reacting to the development, Kochhar said she was “disappointed, hurt and shocked” by ICICI Bank decision.
Kochhar, the first woman CEO of a bank in the country, also said she served the ICICI group for 34 long years “with all my dedication and hard work” and the bank’s latest decision has caused her “immense hurt and pain”.
“I am utterly disappointed, hurt and shocked by the decision,” Kochhar said in a statement.
She was quick to add that none of the credit decisions at the bank are unilateral and the bank has established processes and systems which involve committee-based collective decision-making.
“The organisational design and the structure obviate the possibility of a conflict of interest,” she claimed.
Kochhar said she had served the ICICI group for 34 years “with all my dedication and hard work” and the decision from the bank today has caused her “immense hurt and pain”.
“I have pursued my career as an independent professional with utmost honesty, dignity and integrity. I continue to have faith and belief in my conduct as a professional and I am certain that truth will ultimately prevail,” she said.
Surprisingly, it can be recalled that in March 2018, the same board of ICICI Bank had given a clean chit to Kochhar with full-backing and had said there was no question of favouritism, nepotism or conflicts of interest on her part in granting loans to Videocon Industries or any other company.
The developments come days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on January 24 registered a case against Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar, Videocon Group chairman Venugopal Dhoot and the then entire credit committee members of ICICI Bank in connection with a Rs 3,250 crore loan case.
It is alleged that the accused sanctioned certain loans to private companies in a criminal conspiracy with other accused to cheat the ICICI Bank.
It is alleged that Venugopal Dhoot had given a loan of Rs 64 crore to NuPower Renewables, a company founded by Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar, six months after his group got the Rs 3,250 crore loan.
The CBI had said the money was part of a loan of Rs 40,000 crore which Videocon received from a consortium of 20 banks led by the State Bank of India.
The expose was based on a complaint filed by a whistleblower, who flagged Kochhar’s alleged impropriety and conflict of interest in a letter to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
(With PTI inputs)