ICICI Bank, the country’s largest private sector lender, has decided to postpone its annual general meeting (AGM) by a month to September 12 from August 10 amid an independent probe into allegations of conflict of interest and quid pro quo deals against its managing director & CEO Chanda Kochhar.
The lender has also reportedly ordered an external probe into a whistleblower complaint, which alleged irregularities in the management of some borrower accounts, resulting in an incorrect asset classification. The irregularities related to the financial statements of the bank in the earlier years, covering 31 loan accounts.
ICICI Bank said the AGM was postponed because of meetings of group companies. “The change in AGM date and the consequent changes in record dates was necessitated because of the sequencing of general meeting dates within the listed entities of ICICI Group,” the lender said in a regulatory filing to stock exchanges on Monday.
Multiple agencies, including the CBI and regulator Sebi, are also probing the alleged lapses involving Kochhar and her family members.
Both the bank and its CEO had received a notice from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) asking them to respond to matters relating to alleged non-compliance with certain provisions of the erstwhile listing agreement and the Sebi (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015. Sebi is also believed to have found group firm ICICI Prudential MF in violation of rules during the last day of the bidding for the IPO of another group firm ICICI Securities.
The current tenure of Kochhar, who has been at the helm since 2009, ends next March.
Late last month, the bank appointed former bureaucrat Girish Chandra Chaturvedi as its non-executive chairman. Chaturvedi, who assumed office on July 1, will be at the helm for three years. He replaced M.K. Sharma whose term ended on June 30.
Earlier, the board had appointed Sandeep Bakhshi as wholetime director & chief operating officer. His appointment as COO will be for a period of five years, subject to regulatory approvals. He will handle all the businesses and corporate centre functions at the bank.