‘Stakeholders need not have concerns’
Finance minister Piyush Goyal has termed controversy-hit ICICI Bank as a ‘good bank’, even as a government nominee on the board of the bank continues to abstain from board meetings.
“ICICI Bank is a good bank, it has robust processes,” Mr. Goyal said in an interaction with the media. “There is no cause for concern for any of the stakeholders of ICICI Bank per se,” he said. Mr Goyal has been given temporary charge of the finance ministry till Arun Jaitley recovers from illness.
“The law of the land will take its own course. And the processes are already going on, both internally at ICICI Bank and externally…which will come out with their findings,” the Minister added.
Absence of nominee
When asked why the government nominee was not attending the board meeting, Mr Goyal said, “I wouldn’t know about that particular meeting but I will find that out.”
The comments come amid a raging controversy surrounding ICICI Bank with allegations of conflict of interest against its MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar.
In 2016. a whistleblower had sought an inquiry into transactions among ICICI Bank, the Videocon group and NuPower Renewables — a company promoted in 2010 by Ms. Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar.
It was alleged that a company related to Videocon group chairman Venugopal Dhoot invested ₹64 crore in NuPower in 2010 and later proprietorship of the company was transferred to a trust owned by Mr. Kochhar for ₹9 lakh after Videocon group received a loan of ₹3,250 crore from ICICI Bank in 2012.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India had also issued a show-cause notice to the bank for alleged violations of disclosure norms. ICICI Bank has sought more time to respond to SEBI’s queries.
Following fresh allegations from an anonymous whistle-blower, last month the board of ICICI Bank has decided to to set up a enquiry committee headed by an independent and credible person to examine the complaint against Ms. Kochhar for violating code of conduct of the bank, among others. The committee is yet to be formed.