Editorial- May 2018

yad yad ācharati śhreṣhṭhas tat tad evetaro janaḥ

sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute lokas tad anuvartate” 

Chapter III, Verse 21, The Bhagavad Gita

Karma Yoga or The Yoga of Action 

Whatever the superior person does, that is also followed by others; what standard he or she demonstrates by action, people follow that. This is what Krishna says in The Gita. It has been the ethical policy in India since the time of King Janaka. In India, most institutions – financial, administrative, educational and military – have embossed some verse or a section thereof from the great text of The Gita as a citation for their action. Thus, the top FI of the country, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), gives the assurance of security as ‘Yogakshemam Vahamyaham.’ Actions make brand logos, emblems of trust. They transform stated objectives into ethics.

The Kochhar-ICICI saga is an annihilation of Ethics in the banking sector. The Kochhar companies and assets were built on an underlying structure of Chanda Kochhar’s career milestones in ICICI. This issue of InfraLive exposes this dyad. It goes beyond Kochhar’s renewable empire.

It all began in 1994 when Ms Kochhar became the AGM of ICICI and her entire clan began forming dummy companies. It is a labyrinth of entry companies, illegitimate transactions, several unsecured loans on little paid-up capital, creation of trusts to hide assets and even creating two companies with the same name – all this and more they have done and must be investigated by the CBI and I-T authorities.

Three entry companies have been featured in this investigation. These are Modern Fashions, KG Computers and ABS Components. All of them were struck off in the post demonetization swoop of the government. They operated out of dummy addresses and seldom filed returns. Rajiv and Deepak Kochhar were the directors of these companies. Then, two companies with the same name was formed – Credential Finance Ltd (CFL). It became the vehicle for cheating lenders and lying to courts. One CFL company got loans worth Rs 26 crore with no paid-up capital. The Videocon-Kochhar nexus is further established through fresh evidences.

As for the ICICI Bank Chairman, who recently with great paraphernalia did his press conference and wretchedly described facts related to Kochhar’s Renewable empire as malafide, I would say the following to him in the words of Lord Acton: “I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge the Pope and the King unlike other men (women), with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”