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Chanda Kochhar Says 'Hurt and Shocked' After ICICI Sacks Her; Bonuses Paid to Her to be Recovered

Justice (Retd) BN Srikrishna, who submitted the enquiry report on Wednesday, concluded that there was lack of diligence with respect to annual disclosures and violation of code of conduct, on Chanda Kochhar's part.

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Updated:January 30, 2019, 11:54 PM IST
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Chanda Kochhar Says 'Hurt and Shocked' After ICICI Sacks Her; Bonuses Paid to Her to be Recovered
File photo of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar. (Reuters)
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New Delhi: An independent enquiry initiated by ICICI Bank has indicted its former CEO Chanda Kochhar of violation of bank's code of conduct.

Justice (Retd) BN Srikrishna, who submitted the enquiry report on Wednesday, concluded that there was lack of diligence with respect to annual disclosures and violation of code of conduct, on her part.

The bank has also decided to stop all unpaid retirement benefits and also recover bonuses paid to
her since 2009.

After the report indicted her, Chanda Kochhar said she is "disappointed, hurt and shocked" by the Bank's decision of treating her resignation as "termination".

"I am utterly disappointed, hurt and shocked by the decision," Kochhar, who was on leave from June and finally resigned early October, said in a statement this evening.

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 a committee-based collective decision-making.

"The organisational design and the structure obviate the possibility of conflict of interest," she claimed.

Meanwhile, present chief executive Sandeep Bakhshi said in an analyst call after the earnings announcement that the bank has put out a statement about Kochhar, and her role now is limited to cooperating with regulatory agencies.

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 board, following the receipt of the enquiry report, Wednesday decided to treat "the separation of Kochhar from the bank as a 'termination for cause' under the bank's internal policies, schemes and the code of conduct, with all attendant consequences".

On January 24, Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group MD Venugopal Dhoot were booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation over charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating in a case linked to alleged irregularities in loans.

The case pertains to alleged transactions between Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd, controlled by Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot-controlled Videocon Group. It is alleged in the FIR filed by CBI that the accused sanctioned certain loans to private companies in a criminal conspiracy with other accused to cheat the ICICI Bank.

It was earlier reported that Dhoot provided crores of rupees to a firm he had set up with Deepak Kochhar and two relatives six months after the Videocon group got Rs 3,250 crore as loan from ICICI Bank in 2012. The amount was part of the Rs 40,000-crore loan that Videocon group secured from a consortium of 20 banks led by SBI.

Dhoot allegedly gave Rs 64 crore in 2010 through a fully owned entity to NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL), which he had set up with Deepak Kochhar and two of his relatives.

He also allegedly transferred proprietorship of the company to a trust owned by Deepak Kochhar for Rs 9 lakh, six months after he received the loan from ICICI Bank.

Amid the raging controversy, Chanda Kochhar stepped down as the bank's managing director and chief executive in October last year.
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