Apropos your front page article “Sebi sets fresh deadline for ICICI Bank, MD” (July 5); thank god for a market regulator like the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). The robustness of our economic systems largely rests on such fine institutions.
I do hope this one is the final deadline and — in case of no response — they will pass an ex-parte order against the entities. I think the regulator has given sufficient time to the bank and its managing director to come up with a considered response. Sandep Parekh has rightly pointed out that “the regulator could go ahead with further action if it finds that (seeking extensions) is a time-buying tactic of the entity”. I am keen that matters is investigated expeditiously and decisions arrived at without delay. The nexus between the Videocon group, Ms Kochhar and her husband is now pretty much established — admitted by the lady herself, as per Sebi’s notice —and, as such, Sebi’s action is quite justified. One way to get out of the morass in our banking system is to decide cases quickly, fairly and on the basis of solid facts.
An accompanying piece, by Nikhat Hetavkar, on the same page makes interesting reading. It looks like a self-certification for good character by the bank. A home loan portfolio rising to Rs 1.5 trillion — and constituting over 50 per cent of the bank’s total retail loans portfolio — is indeed creditable. One only hopes that this Rs 1.5 trillion has no big chunks loaned out to builder syndicates, but exclusively to small individual home builders.
Krishan Kalra Gurugram
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