The Securities and Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has granted interim relief to former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD&CEO) of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar, saying the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) “acted hastily set a hearing date without providing the required documents to the applicant (Ms. Kochhar)”.
The SAT ordered Ms. Kochhar to file a new request with SEBI, clearly and precisely identifying the documents sought for inspection, within two weeks. After receiving such a request, according to the court, SEBI should either conduct an inspection or pass an appropriate order stating the reasons why the appellant was not granted an inspection or a copy of the documents. .
In addition, SEBI will have to give the former CEO of ICICI Bank an opportunity to hear the request, SAT said, and asked the market regulator to make a decision bearing in mind the Takano v. Supreme Court SEBI.
The case concerns allegations of a “conflict of interest” in the approval of loans granted by ICICI Bank to the Videocon group. SEBI had issued a show cause notice to Ms. Kochhar on May 23, 2018. ICICI Bank had the matter investigated by Judge Srikrishna and SEBI again sent a new show cause notice after the release of Judge Srikrishna’s report. Ms Kochhar has been accused of giving a loan to Videocon instead of a personal benefit when she was managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank.
Ms. Kochhar had provided a detailed response to the notice on August 24, 2018. A personal hearing was held on November 19, 2018 and the petitioner subsequently submitted written submissions on December 19, 2018. The matter was then reserved for orders. In November 2020, Ms. Kochhar received an amended show cause notice by email. It was alleged that the Amended Notice was incomplete, as it was not accompanied by any attachments, schedules, exhibits or appendixes.
On February 26, 2021, SEBI had ordered ICICI Bank to produce the Indus Project Report, together with its appendices, annexes and exhibits in full. The lender had not provided the documents requested by SEBI, the SAT order mentioned.