Pradeep Kumar’s appointment to BBB under government scrutiny

New Delhi: The government is reviewing the appointment of Pradeep Kumar to the Banks Board Bureau (BBB), amid concerns about his links to Avista Advisory group, an official familiar with the development said.

Avista was founded by Rajiv Kochhar, brother-in-law of ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive officer Chanda Kochhar.

The company is under the scanner of investigative agencies in a case involving alleged conflict of interest in loans given by ICICI Bank to the Videocon Group.

According to an Indian Express report, Kumar, a former managing director of State Bank of India, was an adviser to Avista, and quit only last week.

“The government is looking into the appointment of P. Pradeep Kumar as BBB member,” the official cited above said on the condition of anonymity.

Last week, the government had announced the reconstitution of the Banks Board Bureau under retired bureaucrat Bhanu Pratap Sharma and tasked it with the appointment of senior-level appointments at state-run banks as well as to address the human resource challenges at the lenders.

When contacted, Kumar said the government has not reached out to him and he is not aware of any such development.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a preliminary inquiry last month against Deepak Kochhar, Chanda Kochhar’s husband, as well as Videocon group chairman Venugopal Dhoot, for a loan made to the company in 2012 by a consortium of banks.

ICICI Bank’s exposure to the 20-bank consortium loan is Rs3,250 crore.

So far, the CBI has collected documents pertaining to the Rs40,000 crore loan granted to Videocon group by a consortium of lenders and documents pertaining to the setting up of NuPower Renewables Pvt. Ltd, which was founded by Deepak Kochhar, in 2008.

Rajiv Kochhar has also been questioned by the CBI.livemint

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