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ICICI Bank sacks Chanda Kochhar after adverse findings by Srikrishna panel

Chanda Kochhar (File Photo: IANS)
Chanda Kochhar (File Photo: IANS)
ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector lender, today sacked its former Managing Director & CEO Chanda Kochhar, who is facing charges of corruption and irregularities in a loan given by the bank to the Videocon Group, following the adverse findings against her by former Supreme Court judge, Justice B N Srikrishna, the Head of Enquiry (HOE) who conducted a comprehensive enquiry into the allegations.
 
The decision will have several attendant financial consequence for Ms. Kochhar, 57, who had resigned from the bank on October 24, 2018 in the wake of the allegations of conflict of interest.
 
The Enquiry Report of the HOE, which was submitted to the bank, was considered by its Board of Directors at its meeting here today.
 
"Following the receipt of the Enquiry Report, and due consideration of the Enquiry Report and the conclusions thereat, after due deliberations, the Board of Directors decided to treat the separation of Ms Chanda 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 (including revocation of all her existing and future entitlements such as any unpaid amounts, unpaid bonuses or increments, unvested and vested & unexercised stock options, and medical benefits), and require the clawback of all bonuses paid from April 2009 until March 2018, and to take such further actions as may be warranted in the matter," a press release from the bank said.
 
The HOE had been appointed by the bank pursuant to the decision by its Board on May 29, 2018. The HOE was assisted by a law firm, and a forensic and investigative services firm for the conduct of the enquiry.
 
"The Enquiry Report, with the scope period of April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2018 (unless specific information required enquiry into transactions or facts of an earlier period), concluded, primarily on account of ineffectively dealing with conflict of interest and due disclosure or recusal requirements, that Ms Chanda Kochhar was in violation of the ICICI Bank Code of Conduct, its framework for dealing with conflict of interest and fiduciary duties, and in terms of applicable Indian laws, rules and regulations.
 
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"The Enquiry Report also concluded that her lack of diligence with respect to annual disclosures as required by the Bank in terms of its internal policies, the ICICI Bank Code of Conduct and applicable Indian laws, rules and regulations on her interests (direct or indirect) towards avoidance of conflict of interest, when considered that the Bank’s processes were dependent solely on the directors discharging their fiduciary duty to recuse themselves and avoid conflict, implies that the Bank’s processes were rendered ineffective by her approach to such disclosures and avoidance of conflict.
 
"The Bank notes that there are no implications of the Enquiry Report on its published financial statements (Indian or US GAAP) for the relevant periods," the release added.
 
Today's decision by  the bank came days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had, on January 24, booked Kochhar on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and abuse of official position while “dishonestly sanctioning loans to the Videocon Group”.
 
The First Information Report (FIR) filed by the CBI accused Kochhar of receiving “illegal gratification" through her husband, Deepak Kochhar, from Videocon Managing Director V N Dhoot for sanctioning a term loan of Rs 300 crore to a Videocon group company.
 
The CBI has also registered a case against Deepak Kochhar and V N Dhoot, along with unknown public servants.
 
The FIR also said the role of several top bankers, who were part of the sanctioning committee, might be looked into.
 
NNN
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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