ICICI Bank denies asking Chanda Kochhar to take indefinite leave
The ICICI Bank board has rubbished the media reports which claimed that the board had sent CEO Chanda Kochhar on an indefinite leave till the completion of an independent investigation into allegations of "conflict of interest" and "quid pro quo" against her. The fresh probe was ordered by the board after a whistleblower alleged that Kochhar had violated the bank's code of conduct. Here's more.
"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," said a bank spokesperson.
Following the whisteblower's allegations that Kochhar had violated rules on conflict of interest, and had been part of quid pro quo dealings with certain bank borrowers, the ICICI Bank board met on May 29. Reportedly, they discussed appointing a law firm and a forensic editor. The development comes two months after the bank confirmed its faith in Kochhar, rubbishing all allegations.
Chanda Kochhar and ICICI Bank are facing allegations of conflict of interest, never-before-seen in a private sector bank. The allegations pertain to business dealings between members of Kochhar's family and the Videocon Group. Kochhar, however, has denied all charges. The allegations had surfaced in March.
The probe is expected to be headed by a retired judge, who will be assisted by a law firm and a forensic investigator to probe the charges against Chanda Kochhar. Meanwhile, major firms like Deloitte, PwC, EY, Alvarez & Marshal, etc. have jumped at the opportunity and have offered to do the forensic audit. However, a decision hasn't been taken yet.
The development isn't positive for Chanda Kochhar, who has, till now, maintained innocence in controversial allegations against her. It also comes on the back of a notice sent by SEBI to ICICI, asking it to respond to allegations of violations of disclosure requirements under the securities law in the case involving Videocon and NuPower Renewables, a firm run by Chanda's husband Deepak Kochhar.