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ICICI-Videocon loan: Sebi sends notice to Chanda Kochhar, seeks response on Nupower link



Market regulatory body Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) on Friday sent a notice to ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, seeking her response on the alleged dealings of the private lender with Videocon Group and Nupower Renewables, a company co-founded by her husband Deepak Kochhar.

The ICICI Bank, in a BSE filing, said the MD & CEO and the bank received a notice from Sebi on May 24, seeking responses on matters relating to alleged non-compliance with certain provisions of the erstwhile Listing Agreement and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015.

The statement said the notice has been issued based on information furnished by the bank or its MD & CEO to diverse queries made by Sebi concerning dealings between the bank and Videocon Group and certain dealings allegedly between Videocon Group and Nupower, in which Deepak Kochhar holds economic interests. The bank said an “appropriate response” would be submitted to Sebi.

The country’s second-largest private lender has been embroiled in controversies ever since investor and whistleblower Arvind Gupta alleged a ‘quid pro quo’ in ICICI Bank’s Rs 3,250 crore plus Rs 660 crore loans to Venugopal Dhoot-owned Videocon Industries. He had alleged that it was the time when an identical 10 per cent foreign funding (Rs 325 crore and Rs 66 crore) made its way to NuPower Renewables. The bank has denied the allegations, saying the loans were part of a consortium of lenders that extended the facility to Videocon.

Gupta had first levelled allegations in 2016. At that time, ICICI Bank Chairman MK Sharma, in an internal inquiry, had denied having any conflict of interest and cleared Chanda Kochhar of any wrongdoing charge. The report findings were also shared with the Prime Minister’s Office and the CBI.
In March, ICICI Bank Chairman MK Sharma had said the board has full confidence in Chanda Kochhar and ruled out any ‘quid pro quo’ as alleged with regard to a “certain loan given to Videocon group”.

The bank even clarified that none of the investors of NuPower Renewables is a borrower of ICICI Bank. Deepak Kochhar, during an interview with India Today TV, had said he had not disclosed his ties with Dhoot to Chanda Kochhar. “Chanda did not know when I set up NuPower. I knew Dhoot through social circles. I told her when Dhoot exited.”

Breaking silence on the controversy, Chanda Kochhar , during a press conference on ICICI Bank Q4 results on May 8, said she had nothing more to add as the bank board had made its stand clear on the issue. She added the bank had always co-operated with the regulatory and investigating agencies and would continue to do so.

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