ICICI Bank said on Wednesday that a probe report has found former chief executive Chanda Kochhar violated bank policies and that it will revoke her bonuses, stock options and other financial entitlements.
The report by the committee of retired Supreme Court justice BN Srikrishna adds to the problems of the once-celebrated banker, who had quit in October last year after nearly a decade at the helm of India's second-largest private-sector bank.
The report comes just days after the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a case of criminal conspiracy and fraud against Kochhar and her husband, Deepak.
Kochhar has been battling accusations since early last year that she allegedly favoured Videocon Group to grant bank loans while the company's founders, led by Venugopal Dhoot, invested in a renewable energy company founded by her husband.
In May last year, ICICI Bank constituted the Srikrishna panel to probe the accusations. Kochhar went on leave the following month and finally resigned in October.
The Srikrishna panel's report concluded that Kochhar violated the bank's code of conduct, its framework for dealing with conflict of interest and fiduciary duties, and in terms of applicable Indian laws, rules and regulations, the bank said in a statement. The report also found her guilty of lack of diligence with respect to annual disclosures.
The bank said its board has decided to treat Kochhar's exit as a ‘termination for cause’. As a result, the bank will revoke all her existing and future entitlements such as unpaid bonuses or increments, unvested and vested and unexercised stock options, and medical benefits. The bank said it will seek to retrieve all bonuses paid to Kochhar from April 2009 until March 2018.
Responding to the bank's statement, Kochhar said she was “utterly disappointed, hurt and shocked by the decision”, according to a Reuters report.
“I reiterate that none of the credit decisions at the bank are unilateral ... the organisation design and structure obviate the possibility of conflict of interest,” she said.