ICICI Bank, after accepting the resignation of its managing director and chief executive officer, Chanda Kochhar, on Thursday said that “certain benefits” given to Kochhar will be subject to the outcome of an enquiry against her by a panel headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice BN Srikrishna. This could mean that Kochhar who is being probed for alleged conflict of interest while dealing with certain customers of the bank including the Videocon Group may stand to lose part of the special stock options granted to her by the bank in case of adverse findings of the Srikrishna panel.
According to the Employee Stock Option Scheme norms of ICICI Bank, the award confirmation of stock options granted to an employee is dependent on the Code of Conduct of the employee and their continued good conduct. The 2018 annual report of the bank said that Chanda Kochhar was granted special stock option of 21 lakh after an approval from the Reserve bank of India in November 2015. While it is not clear when and how these stock options are vested, the bank board could claw back special options granted to Kochhar in case of adverse findings.
HERE IS THE INDIAN EXPRESS INVESTIGATION THAT UNEARTHED THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
Apart from this, ICICI bank could also hold back a few retirement benefits including Kochhar’s gratuity till the final report of the Srikrishna panel. According to the annual reports of ICICI bank, the annual gratuity contribution of Kochhar is between Rs 22 to 25 lakh.
As on September 28, Chanda Kochhar has exercised 33.3 lakh employee stock options and the value of these options as per the latest share price of ICICI Bank is around Rs 105 crore. Kochhar is currently facing allegations of conflict of interest and quid pro quo against her while dealing with certain customers of the bank.
The bank on Thursday said Kochhar will also relinquish office from the Board of Directors of the Bank’s subsidiaries. Kochhar is on the board of several subsidiaries such as ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, ICICI Securities, ICICI Lombard General Insurance and ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company.
As first reported by The Indian Express on March 29, Videocon group promoter Venugopal Dhoot provided crores of rupees to NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL), a firm he had set up with Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar and two relatives six months after the Videocon group got Rs 3,250 crore as loan from ICICI Bank in 2012. He transferred proprietorship of the company to a trust owned by Deepak Kochhar for Rs 9 lakh, six months after he received the loan from ICICI Bank.
Almost 86 per cent of the Rs 3,250 crore loan (Rs 2,810 crore) remains unpaid. The Videocon account was declared an NPA in 2017.