ICICI, Chanda Kochhar Face US Regulatory Probe

Chanda Kochhar ICICI Probe

With the multi-agency probe continuing into alleged lapses involving ICICI Bank’s chief Chanda Kochhar and her family members, the matter has also come under the scanner of the US markets regulator SEC, as per reports.

Indian Agencies Seeking Foreign Help

The Indian regulators and investigative agencies are seeking help from their overseas counterparts, including in Mauritius, as part of their probes. The queries sent to ICICI Bank also remained unanswered. The bank has established an independent inquiry into allegations of ‘conflict of interest’ and ‘quid pro quo’ in Kochhar’s dealing with specific borrowers.

Earlier in March, when these reports surfaced, the bank had said that its board has full confidence and faith in Kochhar. SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) is looking into the matter since ICICI Bank is listed in the US too. SEC may seek further details from its Indian counterpart — the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). SEBI has already issued show-cause notices to ICICI Bank and Kochhar as part of its probe.

SEBI has been approached for details which would be provided to the bank, its CEO and others to whom notices have been served. CBI had earlier registered a preliminary probe against Kochhar’s husband, among others. Also, CBI had extensively questioned Kochhar’s brother-in-law in April.

Allegations of extending loans to companies and enjoying reciprocal benefits

There are allegations of ICICI Bank extending loans to some companies and enjoying reciprocal benefits. Allegedly, family members of the bank’s chief, including her husband Deepak Kochhar, got financial favours from borrowers against loans sanctioned.

The cases under scanner include the bank’s Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon Group in 2012. This had the involvement of Kochhar family in restructuring of loan. There are allegations that Deepak Kochhar’s NuPower got investments of Rs 325 crore from Mauritius-based Firstland Holdings. Firsthand is a company owned by Nishant Kanodia, son-in-law of Essar Group co-founder Ravi Ruia.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs is looking into companies involved in the ICICI controversy. An official said that ICICI Bank affairs are still completely under the purview of the Reserve Bank of India.

Also: Chanda Kochhar on indefinite leave, ICICI Bank investigates case

Bhawana is an intern with SheThePeople.TV