High Court (India)

January 14, 2020

ICICI Bank Moves HC To Recover Chanda Kochhar’s Bonuses

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


ICICI Bank has approached the Bombay High Court seeking recovery of bonuses earned by its ousted CEO Chanda Kochhar.

In an affidavit filed by the bank at the Bombay High Court, the bank stated, “Respondent (ICICI Bank) has filed Suit (L) Number 32 of 2020 at the court inter alia seeking recovery of amounts towards the clawback of bonuses given to the petitioner from April 2006 to March 2018, pursuant to the termination of the petitioner's (Kochhar) services”.

Clawback is an act of retrieving money which has already been paid out. The former CEO is accused of violation of ICICI Bank's code of conduct and conflict of interest in the controversial Rs 3,250 crore loan given to Videocon Group, a part of which went to a company run by her husband Deepak Kochhar.

The affidavit also observed that Chanda Kochhar is currently being interrogated by several agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). It also stated that the petition challenging her sacking claiming violation of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rules is a malafide attempt to secure stock options of the bank.

In January 2019, the Justice Srikrishna Committee had indicted Chanda Kochchar for violation of the ICICI Bank's code of conduct, besides conflict of interest. It cleared the decks for investigating agencies and overarching regulatory bodies to take appropriate action against all the accused.

It may be recalled that former ICICI Bank chief Chand Kochchar had moved the Bombay High Court challenging the bank's decision to terminate her in November 30, 2019, after the bank approved her request for early retirement.

ICICI Bank's board had also decided to take back all bonuses and stock options paid to her between April 2009 and March 2018.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the ED has stated that it has provisionally attached Rs 78.15 crore worth movable and immovable assets in possession of Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and the companies owned and controlled by him.

According to the ED, the asset attachment is under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA) in the ICICI Bank loan case.

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