More than a month after nepotism allegations against her, ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar said that the private lender works under and abides by all regulatory norms and that it has been fully cooperating with regulatory and investigative agencies.
Kochhar was addressing a press conference to announce the company’s earning results for the quarter and financial year ended March 31.
Asked about the possibility of a third-party audit on the Videocon issue, Kochhar said: “As the Board had earlier said that we have been extending full cooperation to the regulatory and investigative agencies, and that we will continue to cooperate with them.”
On the possible succession plan, Kochhar said that the company’s board has made its stand clear.
“The board has made its stand very clear in the March 28 meeting and as far as bank operations are concerned you can see the stability, the enhancement and the franchise and the results,” Kochhar said.
She said that the board meeting on Tuesday is a ‘normal’ one to deliberate upon budget and strategy for the financial year ahead.
On March 29, ICICI Bank Chairman M.K. Sharma had said that reports alleging nepotism by Kochhar were unfounded and malicious in nature.
Saying that ICICI Bank’s exposure to the Videocon Group (Videocon Industries and 12 of its subsidiaries or associates as co-obligors) for a debt consolidation programme and for the group’s oil and gas capital expenditure programme aggregating approximately Rs 40,000 crore was less than 10 per cent.
Sharma had asserted that no individual bank employee has the ability to influence decisions of the credit committee.
“Given this architecture of sanctioning all loans by the credit committee comprising independent directors, no individual employee, howsoever…. (higher in) position has the ability to influence the decision on credit given by the bank,” Sharma said at a press conference in Mumbai.
He clarified that none of “the investors of NuPower Renewables are borrowers of ICICI Bank” and that Kochhar did not chair the committee that had lent to Videocon.
In addition, Sharma said at the press briefing that Kochhar has been making all her disclosures in accordance with the regulatory guidelines under the Companies Act and the Banking Act.
Sharma revealed that the bank has ‘satisfactorily’ replied to the questions of all the regulators, which he described as an ongoing process between “a regulated entity like a bank and the regulators and other government departments”.
In 2012, a consortium of 20 banks and financial institutions sanctioned credit facilities to the Videocon Group for a debt consolidation programme and for its oil and gas capital expenditure programme aggregating to approximately Rs 40,000 crore.