Government’s nominee on ICICI Bank board transferred

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The government has transferred bureaucrat Lok Ranjan, its nominee on the board of the controversy-hit ICICI Bank, from the Finance Ministry to the Department of Personnel and Training.

According to a notice by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet late Thursday, Ranjan, who was Joint Secretary, Department of Financial Services, was moved to the Department of Personnel and Training as Joint Secretary on “lateral shift basis, from the date of assumption of the charge of the post, for an overall tenure of five years up to August 17, 2022 or until further orders”.

The government, however, did not cite any reason for the transfer, which was one among several made on Thursday. Ranjan was nominated on the board of ICICI Bank on April 7.

Reportedly, Lok Ranjan did not attend two key board meetings of ICICI Bank on May 7 and 8.

ICICI has come under the scanner as NuPower Renewables, a company run by Deepak Kochhar, husband of ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar, is being investigated by several agencies since news reports raised questions about the chairman of Videocon Venugopal Dhoot giving a loan of Rs 64 crore to the firm he had jointly promoted with Deepak, six months after his group received a Rs 3,250 crore loan from ICICI.

The Income Tax Department recently sent a second notice to Kochhar. The tax authorities had earlier sent a notice in the first week of April to NuPower, which was formed in December 2008.

The Central Bureau of Investigation in April questioned NuPower CFO and Head of Corporate Finance Sunil Bhuta, who was responsible for handling the overall finance, accounts, audit and taxation functions for NuPower since its inception.

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