Reports said that Kochhar has moved the Bombay HC against ICICI Bank for ‘terminating’ her even though her request for an early retirement was accepted earlier.
Chanda Kochhar, the former Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank has moved the Bombay High Court against the bank on her 'termination' from the company. The matter is listed on the Bombay High Court website on its cause list for December 2.
This would be the first such case in India where a private bank’s former chief has moved court against termination.
According to reports, Kochhar has moved the Bombay HC against her former employer for 'terminating' her even though the bank had already accepted her request for early retirement.
In January 2019, ICICI Bank announced that Kochhar’s exit from the bank would be treated as 'termination for cause'. As a consequence of this, all of Kochhar's unpaid bonuses or increments, unvested and vested and unexercised stock options, and medical benefits were revoked. Further, the board also took a decision to clawback all bonuses paid to her from April 2009 until March 2018.
ICICI Bank in October 2018 announced the board had accepted Kochhar’s plea seeking early retirement. Post this, Sandeep Bakhshi was appointed as the MD and CEO at ICICI Bank.
Kochhar was on indefinite leave in June 2018 pending an external enquiry against her on allegations of conflict of interest and quid pro quo charges related to a loan given to Videocon Group.
Shareholder and whistleblower Arvind Gupta was the first to raise concerns in October 2016 through a blog, alleging impropriety in loan-related decisions made by Kochhar.
He also alleged quid pro quo in loans approved to Videocon Group, whose promoter had business dealings with Kochhar's husband Deepak Kochhar.
In March 2018-end, the bank stated that it had reviewed internal processes for credit approval and 'found them to be robust'. Later, the bank’s board also expressed full faith in Kochhar, denying any wrongdoing on her part and ruling out any 'conflict of interest'.
However, after a second whistleblower complaint emerged, the board changed its stance and instituted an independent inquiry on May 30.Following this, a panel headed by Justice BN Srikrishna found Kochhar's actions in the Videocon loan case in violation of the bank’s code of conduct. The inquiry report also concluded that Kochhar’s lack of due diligence with respect to annual disclosures led to the bank's processes being rendered ineffective by her approach to such disclosures and avoidance of conflict.