Former Supreme Court judge to probe charges against ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar

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Former Supreme Court Judge B N Srikrishna will examine quid pro quo allegations against ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar. Srikrishna has been given the task to examine the charges on the request of the Board of ICICI Bank.

Srikrishna, while speaking to India Today, confirmed the development and said: “I have accepted the task and would begin the enquiry soon. As of now, I am a single member team for this task, but soon I would appoint few officials for the support.” The former judge further said that there was no timeframe decided, but he has to give enquiry report at the earliest.

Earlier, the ICICI Bank had said that it would initiate an enquiry into the allegations of quid pro quo and conflict of interest levelled against Chanda Kochhar by whistleblower Arvind Gupta. The whistleblower had alleged that the bank’s MD and CEO had not adhered to provisions relating to code of conduct of the bank while dealing with certain customers.

So far, the whistleblower has written two letters to the Prime Minister and investigating agencies in which he red-flagged ‘impropriety’ in certain transactions which involves Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar.

In the first letter, Gupta alleged quid pro quo in ICICI Bank’s Rs 3,250 crore plus Rs 660 crore loans to Venugopal Dhoot-owned Videocon Industries. He alleged that around same time an identical 10 per cent foreign funding (Rs 325 crore and Rs 66 crore) made its way to NuPower Renewables- a company co-founded by Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar.

In the second letter, the whistleblower levelled fresh allegations of quid pro quo on ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar. He claimed that the ICICI Bank had favoured Ruia brothers of Essar group for ’round-tripping’ investments into Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar’s NuPower Group – the same firm involved in Videocon loan case.

The CBI and Income Tax have already started a preliminary investigation into Rs 3,250 crore loan ICICI Bank had extended to Videocon in 2012 and the possible role of Chanda Kochhar and his husband Deepak Kochhar.

Former justice B N Srikrishna told India Today that he would be looking into the entire gamut of allegations.