Yesterday, the ICICI Bank board members decided that their Managing Director Chanda Kochhar would remain on leave until the probe is completed. The Chief Executive for Life Insurance Sandeep Bakhshi will play the role of interim MD in Kochhar’s absence.
In a statement, the bank said, “Mr. Bakhshi will be responsible for handling all the businesses and corporate center functions at the bank. In line with the highest levels of governance and corporate standards, Ms. Chanda Kochhar has decided to go on leave till the completion of the inquiry, as announced on May 30, 2018.”
Last month the bank ordered a probe against their Chief Executive and MD Chanda Kochhar based on an anonymous whistleblower’s allegations. The probe will be headed by an independent person who would examine the allegations.
The whistleblower’s letter claims Kochhar was involved in breaking the bank’s code of conduct. It went on to state her actions would be a conflict of interest. Ms. Kochhar is accused of favoring the Videocon Group for their lending practices from the bank.
The ICICI board gathered to announce an investigation into the allegations. However, this is not the first time Ms. Kochhar has been accused. Last month the Bank released a statement which read, “The Board of Directors, at its meeting held on 29th May, 2018, decided to institute an inquiry to be headed by an independent and credible person, to examine and inquire into an additional autonomous whistleblower complaint, disclosing certain information, alleging in substance that the bank’s CEO and MD had not adhered to provisions relating to “Code of Conduct” of the bank.”
In March this year, the first whistleblower a shareholder at ICICI bank wrote a blog accusing Kochhar of nepotism with the Videocon Group. The promoter of Videocon group invests in Kochhar’s husband’s company. The NuPower Renewables which is owned by Deepak Kochhar.
At that time, the ICICI Group claimed an investigation was conducted and no wrongdoing was found. Adding that the loans sanctioned to the Videocon Group were legal.