The Ministry of Corporate Affairs is looking into companies involved in the ICICI Bank controversy of an alleged conflict of interest in bank chief Chanda Kochhar’s dealings with certain borrowers, according to a senior official. The official also said the affairs of ICICI Bank are not being looked into by the ministry as that is completely under the purview of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
“The ministry is looking at allegations with respect to fraudulent, preferential or under-valued transactions… (related to) those companies which have come into controversy in the light of ICICI Bank issue,” the official said on Wednesday.
However, specific details about the companies that are under the ministry’s scanner were not disclosed. There are allegations of involvement of Kochhar and her family members in a loan provided to Videocon group on a quid pro quo basis. It was also alleged that Videocon Group pumped money into NuPower Renewables, a firm owned by Deepak Kochhar, husband of Chanda Kochhar.
Last month, ICICI Bank’s board ordered an independent probe into allegations of ‘conflict of interest’ and ‘quid pro quo’ in MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar’s dealing with certain borrowers. The enquiry was ordered on a complaint by an anonymous whistle-blower against Kochhar.
“… the enquiry to be headed by an independent and credible person (will) examine and enquire into an additional anonymous whistle-blower complaint…,” the bank had said in a regulatory filing.
Last month, Sebi had served a notice on Kochhar on dealings of the bank with Videocon Group and Nupower. The ministry, which is implementing the Companies Act, has powers to take stringent action against entities for violations.