Chanda Kochhar, who had quit as CEO and managing director of the bank in October, has been “terminated”, said the ICICI in a statement. This means her entitlements including increments, bonuses, medical benefits and stock options, have been cancelled. She has to return bonuses paid from April 2009 to March 2018, the bank said.
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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”.
It is a massive fall from grace for Chanda Kocchar, once one of India’s most celebrated bankers.
She has been accused of criminal conspiracy and cheating by the CBI, along with her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon head Venugopal Dhoot, in a case linked to 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.
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A whistleblower alleged that Ms Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar and her family members benefited from the dealings.
Venugopal Dhoot allegedly invested crores of rupees in NuPower Renewables, a company founded by Ms 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. The agency says she abused her official position and “got illegal gratification/undue benefit through her husband from Dhoot for sanctioning Rs. 300 crore to Videocon.”
It was part of a Rs. 40,000 crore loan which Videocon got from a consortium of 20 banks led by the State Bank of India.
Caught in a firestorm over alleged “conflict of interest” in the loans sanctioned by ICICI, Chanda Kochhar, 56, quit her post seeking premature retirement on October 4.
After initially backing Ms Kochhar, ICICI Bank set up a “comprehensive enquiry” to investigate the charges. As more allegations surfaced, a multi-agency probe was launched.
Ms Kochchar joined the ICICI bank in 1984 as a management trainee. She rose to the top and was appointed Managing Director and CEO in 2009. She was widely acknowledged for her role in shaping retail banking in India.