Former ICICI bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar appeared before a special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Friday and was released on a cash bond of Rs. 5 lakh that will remain with the court till the disposal of the case.
On January 30, the court had asked all the accused to appear before it on February 12, after it took cognizance of the chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate against them. Appearing before the court, Kochhar, who was never arrested or in custody, filed for formal bail, which was granted.
Special judge Abhijeet A. Nandgaonkar, while releasing her on cash bail, directed that the former executive furnish sureties within two months. The court has also directed her to surrender her passport to the ED and not leave the country without the court’s permission.
Kochhar is also expected to attend all dates of the trial unless exempted and also report to the agency as and when required for investigation purposes.
Her husband Deepak Kocchar, also an accused in the case, was produced before the court from jail, where he is in custody in the money-laundering case. Videocon’s former Chairman and MD Venugopal Dhoot, who is on bail in the case, also appeared before the court.
Judge Nandgaonkar, while summoning the accused before him last month, had said in his detailed order, “After going through the submissions, written complaints and statements recorded under PMLA, it appears that accused, Ms. Chanda Kochhar had misused her official position in granting loan to accused Mr. Venugopal Dhoot and/or Videocon group companies.”
The court had added that it appears she “got illegal gratification/undue advantage through her husband accused Mr Deepak Kochhar, per se quid-pro-quo web transactions, created by the accused persons through various companies for siphoning off money and proceeds of crime.”
Judge Nandgaonkar had said that hence he was of the opinion that the material was sufficient to proceed against the accused persons. Since Deepak Kochhar is in custody, the court had directed that summons be served upon him by jail authorities.
As per the agency’s case, a day after ICICI Bank sanctioned Rs 300 crore to Videocon International Electronics Limited (VIEL), Rs 64 crore was sent by Dhoot through a company to another, Nupower Renewables Private Limited, managed and controlled by Deepak Kochhar. Deepak’s wife Chanda was a chairperson of the bank committee which had sanctioned the loan. An amount of Rs 1,575 crore that was sanctioned by the bank to Videocon Group companies had turned non-performing assets. Chanda was involved in the decision-making process in sanctioning these loans, the agency has alleged.