Mumbai: ICICI Bank informed the high court that approval was sought from the RBI in the case of removing Chanda Kochhar as CEO and MD of the bank. The court was hearing a petition filed by Kochhar, where she alleged that her removal was illegal and approval had not been taken from the RBI for the same. The court allowed her to amend the petition and kept the hearing next Monday.
A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice M.S. Karnik was hearing the plea filed by Kochhar, challenging her termination and claw back of bonuses received by her between April 2009 and March 2018. Kochhar claimed that in October last year, she requested early retirement and the same was accepted by the board of directors of ICICI Bank.
On Monday, senior counsel Darius Khambata, on behalf of ICICI Bank, filed an affidavit in reply and justified Kochhar’s termination. He submitted that the bank had sought appr-oval from the RBI under section 35B (1) (b) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 for termination of Kochhar’s appointment.
Appearing for Ms Kochhar, senior counsel Vikram Nankani and advocate Sujay Kantawala sought time from the court to amend the petition in view of the reply filed by ICICI Bank. In this regard, Ms Kochhar's counsel argued that ICICI Bank had obtained from the RBI a post-facto approval for her termination, which was in contravention of the law.
A committee with Justice B.N. Srikrishna on board had been appointed to investigate into allegations that Videocon Industries was granted loans by ICICI Bank, and as quid pro quo, Videocon invested in Nupower Renewables, the company of Ms Kochhar’s husband, Deepak.
As per reports, the Justice Srikrishna committee had indicted Ms Kochhar earlier this year. In turn, the board of directors of ICICI Bank had terminated her employment. The board took action after it received and considered the enquiry report. As a result, on January 30 this year, the board informed the petitioner Ms Kochhar that it had decided to treat her separation from the bank as “termination for cause” under internal policies, and required claw back of all bonuses paid from April 2009 to March 2018.
Ms Kochhar has challenged the ICICI’s denial of the agreed remuneration.