No respite for Kochhars. ED questions Chanda Kochh ar, Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot for second consecutive day…..
Young management aspirants- men and women- used to look up to her for inspirations. Today she is jobless after 34 years at a job as an iconic figure and it is not likely that she would now get a new job anywhere. For Chanda Kochhar, this has been a disappointing story of self-destructing Fall From Grace.
Former ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar, appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning in the ICICI Bank-Videocon Rs 3,250 crore ‘quid pro quo’ loan case in its Mumbai office for further questioning on Saturday. The ED also called Videocon Chairman Venugopal Dhoot for interrogation.
A day earlier, a team of ED sleuths, assisted by the local police, had carried out raids at the five offices and residential premises of Chanda Kochhar in Mumbai and other locations. The ED grilled Chanda and her husband Deepak, Dhoot and Mahesh Pugali, a close associate of Dhoot and the relative of Kochhars, for several hours.
The ED’s case is based on an FIR lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in January naming Chanda Kochhar as accused in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case. A recap–
- Videocon was given loans after Chanda Kochhar took charge as MD and CEO of ICICI Bank on May 1, 2009,
- She was in a sanctioning committee which approved loan of Rs 300 crore to Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and Rs 750 crore to Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL) owned by Venugopal Dhoot,
- Between June 2009 and October 2011, during the tenure of Chanda Kochhar as MD and CEO, the ICICI Bank sanctioned 6 high-value loans to various Videocon companies,
- A total loans of Rs 3,750 crore to various companies under Videocon Group were given,
- A total loans of Rs 1,575 crore given by ICICI Bank to the Videocon group had turned non-performing assets (NPA).
- Chanda Kochhar has been named as an accused in the FIR lodged by the CBI,
- The CBI had initiated a preliminary inquiry in the case,
During the CBI raids in Feb 2019, several documents related to the case were seized by the CBI who had then told that once the scrutiny procedures would be over, they would ask the concerned persons or companies to produce the documents needed.
Justice (retd) BN Srikrishna Committee, set up to probe quid pro quo link in the case, had earlier found that Chanda Kochhar worked in violation of the ICICI Bank’s Code of Conduct. The report was discussed in the ICICI Bank board meeting and her role was found in violation of the bank’s “framework for dealing with conflict of interest and fiduciary duties, and in terms of applicable Indian laws, rules and regulations”.
Chanda Kochhar, however, said that she was “utterly disappointed, shocked and hurt” over the board’s decision. Initially, in her clarifications she said, ‘I was not alone.’
Also Read: Fall From Grace. ICICI Sacks Chanda Kochhar
Despite Chanda Kochhar’s shock, her employer, the ICICI Bank, treated her separation from the bank as ‘termination of cause’. All her existing and future entitlements such as any unpaid amounts, unpaid bonuses, and medical benefits were revoked. The board also decided to take back all bonuses paid to her from April 2009 until March 2018.
In view of Chanda Kochhar’s “I was not alone” line of defense, the CBI and ED are also probing the roles of top ICICI bankers including Sandeep Bankshi, K Ramkumar, Sonjoy Chatterjee, NS Kannan, MS Zarin Daruwala, Rajiv Sabharwal, KV Kamath and Homi Khusrokhan along with Chanda Kochhar in this case.
In this case, analysts opine that the borrower didn’t bother to pay the loan, nor did the lender try to do any recovery.
Had there been a regularity in repayments, even in part, neither Dhoot nor Mr and Mrs Kochhar would have found themselves in this uncomfortable situation.
On the contrary, Chanda Kochhar sought to avail “illegal gratification” through her husband from Videocon Group and Venugopal Dhoot for sanctioning the loan. This aptitude is, naturally, a certain recipe for disaster.