Chanda Kochhar, former chief executive officer of ICICI Bank. (Photo: PTI)

Kochhars, Venugopal Dhoot Questioned In ICICI Bank-Videocon Loan Case

The Enforcement Directorate on Friday questioned former ICICI Bank Ltd.'s former Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot in connection with a money laundering case involving their business concerns, officials said.

The three deposed as part of a regular summon and their statement is being recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, they said.

They have been interrogated in the past as well, in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case. Chanda Kochhar's brother-in-law Rajiv Kochhar has also been quizzed multiple times in connection with the case.

The enforcement directorate had in May questioned and recorded the statements of Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar over multiple sessions at its office in Delhi. The investigation agency is also in the process of analysing details of Kochhars’ assets so that they can be attached under PMLA.

Based on an FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the enforcement directorate had earlier this year registered a criminal case against Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot and others to probe alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning of Rs 1,875-crore of loans by ICICI Bank to Videocon Group.

The CBI had named all the three and Dhoot's companies—Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Ltd.—in the ICICI Bank loan case.

Supreme Energy, a company founded by Dhoot, and NuPower Renewables, a company controlled by Deepak Kochhar, were also named in the FIR.

The CBI alleged that Dhoot had invested in Nupower through his firm Supreme Energy in a quid pro quo to loans cleared by ICICI Bank after Chanda Kochhar took over as the bank’s CEO on May 1, 2009.

The ownership of NuPower Renewables and Supreme Energy changed hands through a complex web of shared transactions between Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot, the CBI has alleged.

During its preliminary enquiry, CBI found that six loans worth Rs 1,875 crore were sanctioned to the Videocon Group and companies associated with it between June 2009 and October 2011 in alleged violation of laid-down policies of ICICI Bank. The loans were declared NPA in 2012, causing a loss of Rs 1,730 crore to the bank.

The ED, sources said, is also probing at least two other loans given out by ICICI Bank during Chanda Kochhar's tenure—to Gujarat-based pharmaceutical firm Sterling Biotech Ltd. and Bhushan Steel and Power Ltd.

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.