BJP MP Kirit Somaiya has called for a review of the “clean chit” given to ICICI Bank’s managing director and chief executive officer, Chanda Kochhar, by its board on charges of nepotism, in the face of an “aggressive investigation” by government agencies on the dealings of the bank and charges of conflict of interest in the disbursal of loans.
Speaking to media in India, Somaiya said that he had been following the case, involving a ₹3,250-crore bank loan extended by the ICICI Bank to Videocon in 2012, and was in touch with the RBI, and felt the Board acted in haste while giving a clean chit to Ms. Kochhar.
“Arms length is expected in dealings as you go more and more up the career ladder, but here it seems to have been violated,” he said.
He specifically pointed to the questioning of Rajiv Kochhar, Ms. Kochhar’s brother-in-law, in connection with the Avista Advisory Group’s role in refinancing of foreign currency-denominated debt of companies that were also borrowers of the ICICI Bank.
“All of this cannot be treated as a coincidence, that a certain company becomes a financial liaison between the loanee and the lender in most big transactions. Is it based on professional expertise or personal relationship?” queried Somaiya.