ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case: Chanda Kochhar, husband questioned by ED again

ED has repeatedly summoned the Kochhar couple since registering the case. (Reuters)

NEW DELHI: Former ICICI Bank Ltd boss Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday to record their statements yet again, as the case against the suspects in the 40,000 crore alleged bank loan fraud dragged on for the fourth month.

The ED has repeatedly summoned Chanda and Deepak Kochhar since registering a case on 2 February, while the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed its own case against the Kochhars and Videocon managing director Venugopal Dhoot in January.

A person familiar with the development, however, said that the agencies were probing the “extent of involvement of all parties”. Only after establishing this will the next step in the matter be taken.

The Enforcement Directorate has been probing the matter since February, after registering a case against Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot. The homes of both men was searched by the probe agency in February.

The CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry against Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot in March 2018 to investigate irregularities in the 40,000 crore loan made by a consortium of lenders to the Videocon group. It also pointed to an alleged conflict of interest in a 3,250 crore loan made to the Videocon group by ICICI Bank.

In January 2019, the CBI the booked the Kochhars and Dhoot for criminal conspiracy and cheating.

Allegations against Chanda Kochhar referred to “criminal conspiracy to cheat ICICI Bank dishonestly by abusing her official position” and receiving “illegal gratification and undue benefit through her husband.”

The ICICI Bank loan to the Videocon group was part of a 40,000 crore loan by a consortium of 20 banks in 2012, and was in contravention of “the Banking Regulation Act, Reserve Bank of India guidelines and credit policy of the bank”.

As part of a suspected quid pro quo arrangement, Dhoot is alleged to have given 64 crore in 2010 through a fully owned entity to NuPower Renewables Pvt. Ltd that he had set up with Deepak Kochhar and two of his relatives. It was alleged that Dhoot transferred proprietorship of the company to a trust owned by Deepak Kochhar for 9 lakh, six months after receiving the loan from ICICI Bank—an allegation that Kochhar has denied to Mint.