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Videocon-ICICI loan case: CBI will examine ICICI bank CEO Chanda Kochhar

FPJ News Service | Updated on: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 11:05 PM IST

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Mumbai: The government is finding it difficult to manage the public perception on the ICICI affair. So, the CBI has decided to examine bank CEO Chanda Kochhar over the Rs 3,250 crore loan sanctioned to the Videocon Group in 2012, a large portion of which has now become NPA, reports CNN IBN.

It has been alleged that Videocon Group, in a quid pro quo, had pumped money into NuPower Renewables, a firm owned by Deepak Kochhar, husband of Chanda Kochhar. What has put a question mark over Chanda Kochchar’s role is that she was one of the 12 members of the ICICI committee which cleared the loan (of Rs 3,250 crore) to Videocon.

According to sources, after studying the confiscated documents, CBI believes the approval for the loan emanated from the top and many rules were flouted. The CBI, however, maintains that it is not an interrogation, and that Kochhar will only be examined to understand the loan procedure along with probing the benefits her husband allegedly got out of the transaction, adds CNN IBN. Earlier this week, the ICICI Bank board came out in support of Chanda Kochhar, saying it has full faith and confidence in her and described certain reports against her regarding credit disbursement to Videocon group as “malicious and unfounded rumours”.

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Dhoot says he knew all the 12 members of committee

Meanwhile, Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot has told PTI that he knew all the 12 members of the panel that had cleared the loan amount and asserted that personal ties between two individuals do not always result in criminal acts. To a specific question on Chanda Kochhar’s conduct, Dhoot said there was “nothing illegal”.

Asked about the preliminary enquiry started by the CBI in this matter, Dhoot said the agency probes every allegation submitted to it, including “bogus complaints”. The CBI has questioned a few officials of the ICICI Bank as part of the preliminary enquiry to find out if any quid pro quo was involved in the bank giving the Rs 3,250 crore loan.

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Separately, Dhoot also told PTI that loans sanctioned by the ICICI Bank were based on the merit of projects in the oil and gas sector. He denied reports that his group had invested Rs 64 crore in NuPower Renewables. When NuPower started, Dhoot said he had invested around Rs 2.5 lakh in the company but immediately sold the entire investment. ICICI Bank was headed by K V Kamath at that time, Dhoot said, claiming that he did not know if Chanda Kochhar was associated with the bank then.

According to Dhoot, he got to know Deepak Kochhar through a friend and IAS officer, former Maharashtra chief secretary Sharad Upasani. He had no contact with either Deepak Kochhar or Chanda Kochhar after the return of the stake, he said. ICICI Bank had loaned USD 100 million through its Canadian subsidiary to Videocon, which was repaid in full with interest, Dhoot said, adding that there were enquiries by the Enforcement Directorate in the matter, but it did not find any wrongdoing under the foreign exchange management laws. ‘‘It is a circle of time where people face a difficult time. It is like the ‘agni-pariksha’ (litmus test) gone through by Sita and I am sure I will pass it this time,” said Dhoot, who is known to have a keen interest in mythology.

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Published on: Monday, April 02, 2018, 06:55 AM IST