Chanda Kochhar pulls out of FICCI event as Videocon loan probe intensifies

Mumbai: Chanda Kochhar, managing director and chief executive of ICICI Bank Ltd, has pulled out of the annual session of the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), scheduled for 5 April.

Kochhar was to be the guest of honour at the session, where she was to be felicitated by President Ram Nath Kovind.

“She was the guest of honour, but she has backed out from the programme. So now she is no longer coming for the event,” FLO’s executive director Rashmi Sarita told the Press Trust of India.

“Yes, she was to be (felicitated)… She just pulled out from the programme,” she added.

An email sent to ICICI Bank Ltd seeking comments remained unanswered till press time. A FICCI spokesperson did not respond to phone calls and text messages.

The move comes even as ICICI Bank chairman M.K. Sharma defended Kochhar saying that she did not need to recuse herself from the credit committee that sanctioned loans to the Videocon group as the group was not an investor in Deepak Kochhar’s solar energy venture NuPower Renewables when the loan was sanctioned.

Deepak Kochhar is Chanda’s husband.

The authorities, meanwhile, have intensified their investigation into the matter even as Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot and Avista Advisory founder Rajiv Kochhar have denied any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, the income tax department issued a notice to Deepak Kochhar in connection with a tax evasion probe in the Videocon loan case, PTI reported, citing unnamed officials from the department. The department will probe the finances of the company and those associated with it.

With regard to the Videocon loans, the ICICI Bank board had said that the bank’s current exposure is part of a syndicated consortium arrangement. “ICICI Bank was not the lead bank for this consortium and the bank only sanctioned its share of facilities aggregating to approximately Rs3,250 crore, which was less than 10% of the total consortium facility in April 2012,” it added.

The bank had clarified that none of the investors of NuPower Renewables are borrowers of ICICI Bank.livemint


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