Chanda Kochhar, hubby booked

New Delhi: The CBI has booked former ICICI bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon group MD Venugopal Dhoot for alleged quid pro quo in sanctioning loans to Videocon, which caused a loss of Rs 1,730 crore to the bank. The specific charge against the trio is that of criminal conspiracy and cheating. Dhoot allegedly invested crores of rupees in NuPower Renewables, a company founded by Kochhar’s husband, months after his Videocon Group was sanctioned Rs 3,250 crore loan by the ICICI bank.

The loan was cleared by a committee of which Kochhar was a member, alleges the CBI. The agency says Chanda abused her official position and “got illegal gratification/ undue benefit through her husband from Dhoot for sanctioning the loans.’’ A whistle-blower had brought the allegations in public domain. Dhoot set up with Deepak Kochhar and two of his relatives a company called NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd six months after the Videocon was granted the loan.

As part of the quid pro quo, Dhoot allegedly gave Rs 64 crore in 2010 through a fully owned entity to NuPower. He also allegedly transferred proprietorship of the company to a trust owned by Deepak Kochhar for Rs 9 lakh. Some top names in the banking industry – CEO of ICICI bank Sandeep Bakshi, Sonjoy Chatterjee, Zarin Daruwala, Rajiv Sabharwal, K V Kamath and Homi Khusrokhan – have also come under the scanner, as they were part of the ICICI bank committees which cleared some of the six loans to the Videocon group and associated companies.

Following the registration of the FIR late Wednesday night, the agency officials swooped down at four locations in Mumbai
and Aurangabad on Thursday morning. These locations house the offices of the Videocon group and Nupower Renewables the company run by Deepak Kochhar. Almost 86 percent of the ,Rs 3,250 crore loan (Rs 2,810 crore) remains unpaid. The Videocon account was declared an NPA in 2017. Amid the raging controversy, Chanda Kochhar stepped down as the bank’s managing director and chief executive in October last year.

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