ICICI orders independent investigation into allegations against CEO Chanda Kochhar

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Just weeks after giving a clean chit to CEO Chanda Kochhar, ICICI bank declared yesterday that it has decided to appoint an independent and credible person to probe allegations of conflict of interest against her with respect to certain transactions that have come into the scanner of regulatory authorities.

In an update to stock exchanges NSE and BSE, the bank said its audit committee has been asked to institute an inquiry against Kochhar by appointing a credible external person to head it and decide on its terms of reference and the relevant time period to be covered for probing.

ICICI said allegations against the bank’s MD-CEO include non-adherence with provisions of the code of conduct, violation of transparency norms like SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations and even charges of quid pro quo that she is said to have received during certain transactions in which she allegedly had a conflict of interest.

The bank said the scope of this inquiry will be comprehensive and it will include all relevant matters arising in the course of investigations. Forensic reviews, e-mail records and statements of company officials will also be used wherever required.

ICICI’s decision to conduct an independent inquiry comes at the backdrop of securities market regulator SEBI’s notice to the bank last week in which it was asked to explain charges of alleged violation of disclosure norms by Kochhar following a loan deal involving Venupal Dhoot’s Videocon group and another company promoted by her husband.

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