Congress questions government silence on ICICI Bank ‘loan fraud’
The Congress on Monday questioned the Modi government’s “silence” on allegations levelled by a whistleblower against ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar over fraud loans, wondering why it hasn’t ordered a probe into the alleged scam.
“The Rs 2,849 crore exposure of the ICICI Bank and behind the scenes murky deals questions the role of its CEO in one such saga of banking fraud,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera told reporters.
“Media reports and whistle-blowers have alleged that the ICCI Bank CEO and her family have invested Rs 325 crore in subsidiary of a large consortium, which on record has a loan default and is a large NPA.”
Khera said the government itself has admitted that non-performing assets have risen by 230% - from Rs 2,51,054 crore in March 2014 to Rs 8,31,141 crore in December 2017.
“Lack of oversight and regulatory mechanisms have precipitated into massive bank loot scams worth Rs 61,036 crore and have eroded the trust of the common people in banks,” he said.
The Congress leader said that after much delay, the Securities and Exchange Board of India has given a show cause notice to the ICICI Bank’s CEO, stating that the bank didn’t adhere to its code of conduct, which required the disclosure of any conflict of interest in the case involving Videocon Group and NuPower Renewables, a firm owned by Kochar’s husband.
He said despite the four stages of audit - statutory, internal, and concurrent audits and RBI inspection - that every bank goes through, the entire fraud escaped everybody’s attention.
Khera asked if acting finance minister Piyush Goyal, who “himself has been accused of conflict of interest and impropriety”, would order an investigation asking all CEOs of private banks to declare their relationship with any loanee.
“Instead of oversight, audit, regulations and protection of interests of account holder’s depositors, stakeholders and shareholders, Modi government is busy protecting its crony friends,” he alleged.
“Why did the government not order a thorough probe when the news reports and whistle-blower’s letters to the Prime Minister emerged as early in March this year?” Khera asked.
“What explains the complete silence and the declared non-interference of the Modi government in this saga of ICICI Bank frauds?”