An enquiry into the vehicle lending business has brought out personal misconduct issues and appropriate disciplinary action has been taken against a set of employees in that division, HDFC Bank managing director Aditya Puri said on Saturday.
Puri, whose tenure ends in October, spoke to analysts after the bank declared its Q1 FY21 financial results.
“We had received some whistle-blowing complaints. Internal enquiries carried out in the matter on the complaints received has not brought out any conflict of interest issue nor does it have any bearing on our loan portfolio,” said Puri.
He added that the enquiry brought out other aspects related to personal misconduct exhibited by a set of employees for which appropriate disciplinary actions have been initiated.
“Ashok Khanna, being head of that business segment, had also participated in the enquiry process. Subsequently, he superannuated on 31 March, 2020 upon expiry of his tenure and as per the original terms of employment,” said Puri.
Khanna, the former group head of secured vehicle loans, was denied an extension after receiving two extensions post-retirement, Bloomberg reported on 13 July. The report said that Khanna’s exit is linked to an “internal audit of the bank’s vehicle dealer lending as well as allegations of conflicts of interest in the purchase of global positioning systems (GPS) for vehicles financed by the bank”.
“HDFC Bank has a robust policy and process to deal with complaints and allegations and take action as appropriate. The process and the outcome of dealing with such complaints is an internal matter of the bank where we are required to be guided by our policy on disclosure. Suffice to say that as a bank, we’ve always upheld the highest standards of governance and propriety at all times and will continue to do so,” an HDFC Bank spokesperson said earlier this week.
Mint reported on 15 July how the bank is in the midst of top-level exits. Since March, the bank has seen the exits of Abhay Aima, group head of private banking; Ashok Khanna, group head of secured vehicle loans; and Munish Mittal, chief information officer—all HDFC Bank veterans and close aides of its long-time managing director Aditya Puri.
Meanwhile, Puri also reportedly said at the bank’s annual general meeting on Saturday that the potential successor has been with the bank for 25 years. The bank had constituted a six-member search committee last year to find a replacement for Puri and hired Egon Zehnder for assistance. Puri was an adviser to the search committee.