|Cover Photo: Mint|
New Delhi: As multi-organization probe proceeds in India into alleged lapses including ICICI Bank’s CEO Chanda Kochhar and her family members, the issue has likewise gone under the scanner of the US markets regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Also, the Indian regulators and investigative agencies are thinking about looking for assistance from their overseas counterparts incorporating into Mauritius as their very own probes, authorities said.
When asked about its probe into matters related to ICICI Bank and Kochhar, a representative for the SEC Office of Public Affairs declined to remark. The inquiries sent to ICICI Bank likewise stayed unanswered. The bank has just established an independent enquiry into allegations of ‘conflict of interest’ and ‘quid pro quo’ in Kochhar’s managing certain borrowers.
Prior in March, when the reports initially surfaced in such manner, the bank had said that its board has “full certainty and rests full confidence” in Kochhar.
Authorities said the SEC is currently investigating the issue as ICICI Bank is listed in the US additionally and it might look for additionally details from its Indian counterpart the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), which has as of now issued show-cause notices to ICICI Bank and Kochhar as part of its probe.
Officials said the Sebi has been approached for some clarificatory details which would be given to the bank and its CEO, among others to whom notices have been served. Those investigating the issue likewise incorporate the banking regulator Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the corporate affairs ministry, while the CBI had before registered a primer enquiry against Kochhar’s husband, among others, and widely questioned her brother-in-law in April.
The cases under scanner incorporate the bank’s Rs3,250 crore loan to Videocon Group in 2012 and the involvement of Kochhar family members in restructuring of the advance.
A week ago, interim finance minister Piyush Goyal said the law will take its own course in the alleged case of nepotism at ICICI Bank, despite the fact that it is a good bank with “exceptionally powerful procedures” and there was no reason for worry for any of the stakeholders of ICICI Bank per se. There are allegations of impropriety in ICICI Bank stretching out advances to a few companies and enjoying reciprocal benefits.
It has been alleged that family members of the bank’s CEO, including her husband Deepak Kochhar, got monetary favors from the borrowers against the advances endorsed by the bank. It was likewise claimed that Videocon Group drew cash into NuPower Renewables, a firm possessed by Deepak Kochhar.
Sebi has served a notice on Kochhar on dealings of the bank with Videocon Group and Nupower. There are likewise assertions that NuPower got speculations of Rs325 crore from Mauritius-based Firstland Holdings, an organization possessed by Nishant Kanodia, son-in-law of Essar Group co-founder Ravi Ruia.
A independent probe was ordered by ICICI Bank board after fresh allegations of quid pro quo were leveled by extremist and whistle-blower Arvind Gupta, who additionally blamed Ruia brothers for Essar Group of having got undue favors from the bank for “round-tripping” ventures into NuPower Group. The claims have been expelled as “roused” by the Essar Group, which keeps up it has no business enthusiasm for Firstland Holdings.
The ministry of corporate affairs is investigating organizations engaged with the ICICI Bank controversy of alleged conflict of interest in Chanda Kochhar’s dealings with specific borrowers, as per a senior authority.
The authority additionally said the affairs of ICICI Bank are not being investigated by the ministry as that is totally under the domain of the Reserve Bank of India. “The ministry is looking at allegations with respect to fraudulent, preferential or under-valued transactions…(identified with) those companies which have come into controversy in the light of ICICI Bank issue,” the official said.