Former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar's husband Deepak Kochhar has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with its money laundering probe into loans disbursed by ICICI Bank to Videocon group for alleged pecuniary considerations. On 31 January this year, the ED registered a money laundering case against Chanda and Deepak Kochhar, Videocon CMD Venugopal Dhoot and...
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Former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar's husband Deepak Kochhar has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with its money laundering probe into loans disbursed by ICICI Bank to Videocon group for alleged pecuniary considerations.
On 31 January this year, the ED registered a money laundering case against Chanda and Deepak Kochhar, Videocon CMD Venugopal Dhoot and others over alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning of loans worth Rs. 1,875 crore by ICICI Bank to the corporate group.
The ED initiated an investigation against Deepak Kochhar under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), on the basis of an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in January 2019 under sections 120 B, 420 of the Indian Penal Code.
Apparently Deepak Kochhar was not co-operating with the ED during the probe due to which the ED arrested him. The agency is set to produce him at a Sessions Court in Mumbai and seek transit remand.
During the investigation, the ED found that loans were refinanced and new loan aggregating Rs. 1,730 crore was sanctioned to Videocon Industries Limited (VIL) and its group companies by a committee headed by Chanda Kochhar when she was working with the bank. These loans became non-performing assets (NPAs) for ICICI Bank on June 30, 2017.
The ED investigation further revealed that out of a Rs. 300-crore loan sanctioned by the committee headed by Chanda Kochhar to Videocon International Electronics Limited, an amount of Rs. 64 crore was transferred to Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL), earlier known as NuPower Renewables Limited – a company owned by her husband Deepak Kochhar – on September 8, 2009, just a day after its disbursement by ICICI Bank.
The ED has also alleged that Chanda Kochhar, who took an early retirement in October 2018 on allegations of corruption that she had accepted "illegal gratification through her husband" Deepak Kochhar, in whose company Videocon group made investments after it was granted loans by the ICICI Bank.
Moreover, net revenue of Rs. 10.65 crore was also generated by NRPL from these tainted funds. Moreover, Chanda Kochhar and her family acquired an apartment in Mumbai owned by one of the Videocon group companies, by way of acquiring that company through her family trust at a nominal price by creating book entries.
The ED has attached the proceeds of crime totalling Rs. 78.15 crore, which include Rs. 74.54 crore held in the name of NRPL and its subsidiaries, the flat in Mumbai with a book value of Rs. 3.5 crore, and an amount of Rs. 10.5 lakh seized from a company of Deepak Kochhar under PMLA.
In January this year, the ED had also provisionally attached movable and immovable assets worth Rs. 78.15 crore – consisting of flat, land, seized cash, and machinery of wind farm projects located in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra – in possession of Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar.
The investigating agencies have already registered statements of Venugopal Dhoot and Chanda Kochhar's brother-in-law Rajiv Kochhar – also under the scanner as he is involved in loan restructuring business and most of his clients have received loans from ICICI Bank.