Warrant issued against CEO of ICICI Bank and Regional Manager of ICICI Prudential
Call him a Whistle blower or call him a motivated social activist. The efforts of Nitin Balchandani from Udaipur have finally begun to bear fruit, after the Judicial Magistrate First Class - South 2, Udaipur issued a Bailable Warrant against Senior Management of ICICI Bank Ltd and Senior Management of ICICI Prudential
Call him a Whistle blower or call him a motivated social activist. The efforts of Nitin Balchandani from Udaipur have finally begun to bear fruit, after the Judicial Magistrate First Class – South 2, Udaipur issued a Bailable Warrant against a Senior Management official of ICICI Bank Ltd and Senior Management of ICICI Prudential.
The courts decision was in response to an investigation initiated by the judiciary on an Istgasa filed by en ex-employee of ICICI Prudential, Udaipur, Nitin Balchandani.
How and Why the Bailable Warrant was Issued
This case dates back to circa 2012, while Nitin was employed by ICICI Prudential, Udaipur. While he was in service, he noted that various policies were being issued for clients of ICICI Bank, Udaipur and that most of them were related to small accounts.
On investigating, he found that ICICI Bank Udaipur officials and more such across the other branches in the country, were silently cross selling ICICI Prudential policies to unaware clients in the guise of separate FDs. The accounts were mostly of poor, illiterate and gullible customers being cheated of their hard earned money by staff of the bank.
Nitin left the services of ICICI Prudential after serving the mandatory notice period and began his own firm under which he began to study forensic records. His foray into forensic was motivated by the cases of fraud he discovered on cross selling between ICICI Bank and ICICI Prudential. In August 2012, Nitin began to explore the records and spoke to those customers of ICICI Bank who were victims of this fraud. Subsequent to gathering substantial evidence, he approached the higher authorities in ICICI Bank and ICICI Prudential, and when he did not receive suitable response, he reported the matter to the Reserve Bank of India and IRDA for suitable investigations and action.
ICICI Bank, Udaipur registered an FIR against Nitin Balchandani on 1 April 2016, accusing him of fraud and misrepresentation. The FIR was quashed and and FR was recorded on 30 April. Nitin reciprocated with a Public Interest Litigation against ICICI filed in Rajasthan High Court. A day before the first hearing on the PIL filed by Nitin – 27 September, he was picked up by the police on 26 September by the SHO of Bhupalpura Police Station, under the pretext of re-opening the FIR – which was not done following the correct procedure. Nitin accused the SHO of re-opening the FIR on his own without following official/legal procedure. Nitin was susbsequently sent to one month Judicial Custody.
On his release from JC, Nitin applied for quashing the FIR against him at the Rajasthan High Court. After due diligence and necessary investigation, the Rajasthan High Court quashed the FIR in January 2018.
In parallel, Nitin had also approached the Special Operations Group (SOG) in June 2017 with his papers and official complain. The then SOG IG Dinesh MN, said that on preliminary examination of the complaint, fraud was discovered. Officers of the bank and insurance company used credentials of customers and fraudulently issued policies.
Addl SP of SOG Udaipur, Mahaveer Singh Ranawat, under instructions from SOG had conducted the initial investigation and sent his report to the SOG HQ at Jaipur, following which SOG filed an FIR against staff of various branches of ICICI Bank and Senior Management of ICICI Prudential, along with other staff, who were involved in the alleged racket, which Nitin was investigating at his personal level. To understand more about the entire racket and statements from victims, CLICK HERE.
The investigations on the FIR filed by SOG are still underway. However, Nitin, after his FIR was quashed in January 2018, filed an Istagasa with the Judicial Magistrate First Class – South 2, Udaipur in May 2018.
Investigations of the history of the case, the reopening of the FIR, the filing of FIR by SOG in 2017 – all pointed towards alleged fraud and misrepresentation on part of ICIC Bank Management and Officers in close nexus with ICICI Prudential. The court had also instructed Additional SP of Udaipur to investigate the matter independently. The ASP in his report submitted that the case filed against Nitin was fraudulent. This Bailable Warrant against a Senior Management official of ICICI Bank Ltd and Senior Management of ICICI Prudential, is a result of the orders given subsequent to the report submitted by the Additional SP. The accused have been asked to present themselves before the Judicial Magistrate in November 2019.