Ratings firm ICRA Ltd said on Thursday it has fired managing director and chief executive Naresh Takkar with immediate effect.
ICRA’s board made the decision to terminate the employment of Takkar “after due consideration and taking into account the best interests of the company and its various stakeholders”, it said in a stock-exchange filing.
The company said the board will now start a search for a replacement. Until a new CEO is named, Vipul Agarwal, who was appointed interim COO on July 1, will remain responsible for the day-to-day operations.
The move comes less than two months after ICRA, the local arm of global ratings firm Moody’s, sent Takkar on indefinite leave amid an examination of the concerns raised in an anonymous representation that was forwarded to the company by the capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
In May, ICRA had said that it had hired an investigative agency to inquire into anonymous accusations of meddling in the ratings of debt-laden Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS).
SEBI is already probing the case and had launched adjudication proceedings against ICRA, Care Ratings and India Ratings and Research.
In July, CARE Ratings, too, had sent CEO Rajesh Mokashi on indefinite leave amid regulatory concerns.
IL&FS unexpectedly defaulted on its debt obligations and bond repayments in September last year, setting off a liquidity crisis for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and throwing India's financial markets into turmoil.
The ratings firms have been under the scanner for not downgrading the commercial paper of IL&FS Financial Services despite weak financials. The ratings firms had given IL&FS debentures AAA ratings, the highest level of creditworthiness, until its subsidiary IL&FS Transportation Networks defaulted in June last year.