Retired Supreme Court Judge BN Srikrishna has been appointed to lead the independent investigation against ICICI Bank Ltd. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar.
Justice Srikrishna accepted the assignment on Monday, but is yet to discuss details with the audit committee of the bank’s board, he told BloombergQuint. Once that discussion is over, he would have a clearer picture of the scope of the investigation and would proceed to appoint a team, he said.
The audit committee headed by Uday Chitale will be assisting Srikrishna’s team to conduct its investigation.
The Economic Times had earlier today first reported that Srikrishna had been appointed by the bank’s board to conduct the investigation.
ICICI Bank is yet to formally announce the appointment of Srikrishna as the head of the enquiry committee. A spokesperson for the bank declined to comment.
Also Read: Chanda Kochhar: CEO, ICICI Bank (2009-?)
On May 30, the bank had informed the stock exchanges that it will appoint an “independent and credible” person to conduct an independent enquiry into an anonymous whistleblower’s complaint about alleged impropriety against Kochhar.
The bank’s board mandated its audit committee to appoint the head of enquiry, determine its terms of reference and period covered. The committee will also help the head of enquiry with the required independent legal and other professional support.
The whistleblower complaint is in addition to a 2016 letter by investor Arvind Gupta, who had alleged that loans to Videocon Group pointed to Kochhar’s conflict of interest. The private lender had given loans worth Rs 3,250 crore to the Videocon Group, whose chairman Venugopal Dhoot co-founded a separate company NuPower Renewables with Deepak Kocchar, the ICICI Bank CEO’s spouse.
Kochhar continues to be on leave, a spokesperson for ICICI Bank said. On 31 May, the bank had said that Kochhar is on her planned annual leave after Mint newspaper reported that independent board members have asked Kochhar to go on leave for the period of the enquiry. The bank denied this.