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HomeBusinessICICI Bank faces criticism over alleged pressure on ICICI Securities’ minority shareholders...

ICICI Bank faces criticism over alleged pressure on ICICI Securities’ minority shareholders for delisting

ICICI Bank

under fire! ICICI Bank is facing criticism for allegedly pressuring

minority shareholders

of

ICICI Securities

(I-Sec) to back the bank’s proposal to

delist

its broking and investment banking division.
Shareholders of ICICI Securities took to social media to report that bank executives reached out to them directly, urging them to support the resolution for delisting.

According to an ET report, following the allegations, concerns have been raised by lawyers and market experts over the potential regulatory scrutiny of the voting process.
The e-voting for the delisting began on March 22 and concluded on March 26. Under the delisting scheme, ICICI Bank plans to delist ICICI Securities through a share swap agreement. As per the terms, public shareholders in ICICI Securities would receive 67 shares of ICICI Bank for every 100 shares they hold. However, some minority shareholders have expressed opposition to the share swap ratio proposed for delisting the brokerage.
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On Tuesday, several ICICI Securities shareholders took to social media that they were contacted by ICICI Bank executives. Screenshots of call details and WhatsApp messages from bank staff were shared, with some alleging that executives requested them to provide their voting one-time password (OTP).
It was also claimed by some that bank executives asked shareholders to share screenshots of their voting process. An ICICI Bank spokesperson did not respond to the financial daily’s queries regarding these allegations.

Manu Rishi Gupta, the founder of MRG Capital, a Bengaluru-based investment fund, criticized ICICI Bank’s actions, stating that the bank’s direct communication with ICICI Securities shareholders reflects the injustice faced by minority shareholders. Gupta mentioned having evidence to support the alleged unlawful actions of ICICI Bank, which he said will be shared with regulatory authorities.
Securities lawyers highlighted that while regulations do not explicitly prohibit such influencing practices, ICICI Bank’s actions might raise regulatory concerns. Sonam Chandwani, managing partner at KS Legal & Associates, emphasized the importance of regulations like PFUTP and LODR in maintaining market integrity.
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Market observers suggest that Sebi may investigate the matter further. Sumit Agrawal, founder of Regstreet Law Advisors, explained that while seeking support for voting is not explicitly regulated, it aligns with corporate governance principles. Sebi has the authority to investigate such practices and enhance scrutiny on the voting process in response to complaints.
Recent reports indicate that ICICI Bank’s major public shareholder, Norges Fund Investment Bank, supported the resolution, while Quantum Mutual Fund opposed it.