ICICI sacks Chanda Kochhar for violating code of conduct

ICICI sacks Chanda Kochhar for violating ICICI's code of conduct
ICICI sacks Chanda Kochhar for violating code of conduct

New Delhi: In a big setback to Chanda Kochhar, ICICI on Wednesday sacked her for violating the ICICI’s code of conduct and internal policies.

ICICI’s move came in after inquiry on allegations of loan irregularities against its former chief.

The bank said that it would treat Chanda Kochhar’s exit as ‘termination for cause’.

In October 2018, Kochhar had stepped down as CEO and managing director of the bank following allegations that she favoured Videocon Group, a consumer electronics and oil and gas exploration company, in the bank’s lending practices.

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In a statement, the bank said that “her termination means her increments, bonuses, medical benefits and stock options, have been cancelled. She has to return bonuses paid from April 2009 to March 2018.”

According to ICICI, the inquiry report concluded that 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”. The report also noted her “lack of diligence” with respect to the bank’s internal policies, code of conduct and in avoiding conflict of interest. “The bank’s processes were rendered ineffective by her approach…,” said the inquiry.

CBI has accused Kochhar of criminal conspiracy and cheating for alleged irregularities in a loan of Rs. 3,250 crore in 2012 to the Videocon Group, a legacy firm which has become a non-performing asset for the ICICI Bank.

A whistleblower alleged that Ms Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar and her family members benefited from the dealings.

Videocon’s Venugopal Dhoot allegedly invested crores of rupees in NuPower Renewables, a company founded by Kochhar’s husband, months after the Videocon group was granted loan by the bank. The loan was cleared by a committee of which Ms Kochhar was a member, alleges the CBI.

Kochhar joined the ICICI bank in 1984 as a management trainee. She rose to the top and was appointed Managing Director and CEO in 2009.

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