With ICICI Bank’s reputation on the brink following the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) investigation of the Bank’s CEO Chanda Kochhar and the members of her family involved with a loan deal with Videocon, which has inevitably resulted in a number of investors pulling out, Merrill Lynch has swooped in to take a good hold of ICICI Bank’s shares. As per a BSE report, the Wealth Management sector, which is a branch of Bank of America, has bought 29.4 million shares of ICICI Bank, amounting to a total of Rs.8.23 billion. Based on the data provided by BSE, each share that was bought by Merrill Lynch was sold by ICICI Bank at an average of Rs.280. The mediator of the sale of the bank’s shares was carried out by Baillie Gifford Emerging Markets Fund.
The investigation that has been carried out by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has in some ways tainted the reputation of one of India’s leading private banks – ICICI Bank – and has also questioned its governance. According to the source, the legality of ICICI Bank’s Rs.3,250 crore loan has been questioned, as the Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot has been doing business with ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar and the CBI and ED are investigating the case to see if the loan has followed credit and government norms. Responding to the investigation, ICICI Bank has defended their CEO saying that the loan has met credit standards and only following the approval of the credit company was the amount disbursed to Videocon – and that too as a consortium involving 20 other leading banks.