Money & Banking

CBI files FIRs against Chanda and Deepak Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 24, 2019 Published on January 24, 2019

File photo   -  Paul Noronha

Videocon, NuPower offices in Mumbai, Aurangabad seached

The CBI has registered an FIR against several entities and persons, including former ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group MD Venugopal Dhoot, for alleged irregularities in loans sanctioned in 2012.

The FIR also listed Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL), Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL), Deepak Kochhar-owned NuPower Renewables Ltd (NRL), and Supreme Energy, which was originally promoted by Dhoot.

The CBI on Thursday morning carried out search operations in the Mumbai and Aurangabad offices of the Videocon Group, Supreme Energy and NRL. Noting that various committees of ICICI Bank had sanctioned loans to Videocon group companies on different dates, the FIR has named former and current officials of ICICI Bank who were a part of these committees, including Sandeep Bakhshi, Zarin Daruwala, K Ramkumar, Sonjoy Chatterjee, NS Kannan, Rajiv Sabharwal, KV Kamath and Homi Khusrokhan.

As these loans turned into NPAs and caused losses to the bank to the tune of ₹1,730 crore, the role of these officials may also be investigated, it said.

The CBI had, in December 2017, registered a preliminary enquiry on allegations that ICICI Bank officials had, for a quid pro quo, sanctioned credit facilities of ₹3,250 crore to five Videocon group companies in violation of the Banking Regulation Act. It was alleged that Dhoot invested ₹64 crore in NRL through Supreme Energy and also transferred the company to Pinnacle Energy Trust, which is managed by Kochhar in a “circuitous route”, between 2010-12.

Controversial loans

In the course of the enquiry, the CBI found that the lender had sanctioned six loans to Videocon group companies between June 2009 and October 2011 totalling ₹1,875 crore. Chanda Kochhar was on the sanctioning panel of two loans — one for ₹300 crore to VIEL and another for ₹750 crore to VIL.

The FIR noted that a day after the loan was disbursed to VIEL in September 2009, Dhoot transferred ₹64 crore to NRL through Supreme. “This was the first major capital received by NRL to acquire its first power plant. Thus, Chanda Kochhar got illegal gratification through her husband from VIL/VN Dhoot for sanctioning a loan of ₹300 crore to VIEL,” said the complaint filed by DJ Bajpei, Inspector of Police, CBI, adding that the outcome of the preliminary enquiry prima facie reveals the commission of cognizable offences.

ICICI Bank had also sanctioned loans to Videocon group companies Sky Appliances, Techno Electronics and Applicomp India.

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Published on January 24, 2019
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