Former ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar, who were called by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case, reached the agency office in Mumbai office for questioning on Saturday. The ED also called Videocon Chairman Venugopal Dhoot for the interrogation in the Rs 3,250 crore ‘quid pro quo’ case. On Friday morning, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out raids at the houses and offices of Chanda Kochhar. A team of sleuths, assisted by the police, carried out searches at their five offices and residential premises in Mumbai and other locations. The ED also grilled Chanda and her husband Deepak, Dhoot and Mahesh Pugali, a close associate of Dhoot and the relative of Kochhars, in the loan case. The ED’s case is based on an FIR lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in January naming Chanda Kochhar as accused in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case.
The case against these three, including his companies Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and Videocon Industries Limited (VIL), was registered under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and PC Act, 1988. Supreme Energy, a company founded by Dhoot, and Nupower Renewables, a company controlled by Deepak Kochhar, were also named in the FIR.
During the CBI raids last month, several documents related to the investigation of the case were seized by the CBI. The CBI had then said that once the scrutiny process would be over, they might ask the individuals or companies concerned to provide the documents required. The CBI FIR alleged Chanda Kochhar got “illegal gratification” through her husband from Videocon Group/Venugopal Dhoot for sanctioning the loans after she took charge as the ICICI Bank CEO in 2009.
During her tenure as the CEO, six high-value loans were issued to various Videocon companies from June 2009 to October 2011. The loans worth Rs 1,575 crore given by ICICI Bank to the Videocon group later turned non-performing assets (NPA), said the CBI.
It is alleged that Dhoot invested in Deepak Kochhar’s company Nupower through his firm Supreme Energy a quid pro quo to loans cleared by ICICI Bank. The ownership of Nupower and Supreme Energy changed hands through a complex web of shared transactions between Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot, the CBI alleged.