Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were informed about the alleged corruption involving the ICICI CEO, Chanda Kochhar, worth Rs 3,250 crore.
In his complaint, the whistle-blower Arvind Gupta had demanded an appropriate investigation into ‘illicit banking and commercial relationship between Videocon Group of Venugopal Dhoot and ICICI Bank’s MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar’s family owned NuPower Renewable Group steered by her husband Deepak Kochhar.’ Gupta further went on to accused Kochhars of ‘amassing wrongful personal gains by deceiving stakeholders, shareholders, public / private sector banks and Indian Regulatory Agencies for unjust and illegal enrichment through corrupt banking practices within India and tax heavens by a high level CBI/ED/SFIO/SEBI/the RBI team to ensure healthy private sector Banking.’
Chanda Kochhar, a known friend of PM Modi, is alleged to have favoured Videocon Group in its lending practices. She was one of the first big corporate names to have lent her support to PM Modi’s pet scheme, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, by making it mandatory for ICICI branches to actively take part in the campaign.
She was recently summoned by the anti-fraud agency, SFIO, in a bank fraud case related to over Rs 5,000 crore loan extended to diamond merchant Mehul Choksi.
In his complaint to PM Modi, Gupta had written, “Sir, the fact that the Videocon Group led by Mr. Venugopal N. Dhoot has made hefty political contribution of Rs. 11.1 crore to the Bhartiya Janta Party’s (BJP) led Union Government during the year 2014, as against just Rs. 5 lakh in the previous year, should not deter the Government to order an appropriate independent investigation to bring out the truth relating to opaque corporate transactions and prevent impending banking crisis in the ICICI Limited. The Videocon Group is heading deep into crisis and will soon become drain on Banks as Non Performing Asset despite the ICICI Bank offering them murky financial supports. This is a serious misgovernance issue and deserves your intervention or else the reputation of the Government will get tainted.”
You can read the full letter here. Gupta had also informed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley about it. ICICI bank has rejected the charges calling it “malicious and unfounded.”
It said, “ICICI Bank Board reviews the Bank’s internal processes for credit approval and finds them robust. The Board also expresses and reposes full faith and confidence in its MD & CEO, Ms. Chanda Kochhar.”
Gupta said that he had repeatedly sent the letters to PM Modi and Jaitley but no one bothered to respond to his communication. Gupta’s exhaustive letter had exposed how Dhoot and Deepak Kochhar had set up a joint venture company called NuPower Renewables Private Limited in Mumbai. Dhoot is then alleged to have given a loan of Rs 64-crore to the newly formed company through a fully owned entity before he transferred the latter’s ownership to a trust headed by Deepak Kochhar for just Rs 9 lakh.
The transfer of ownership to Deepak Kochchar took place just six months after the Videocon Group was given a loan of Rs 3,250 crore from ICICI Bank, headed by Chanda Kochhar.
The latest episode of financial scandal will cause even more embarrassment to PM Modi and his government in the wake of its questionable role in the Rs 11,500 crore PNB scam.