The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet or prosecution complaint in their probe of the alleged quid-pro-quo for a loan extended by the ICICI Bank to the Videocon Group of Companies.
The chargesheet has been filed against businessman Deepak Kochhar, his wife, former ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, businessman Venugopal Dhoot, Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL), Videocon Industries Limited (VIL), NuPower Renewables Ltd, Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd, among others.
The agency had, in January last year, registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, (PMLA) on the basis of an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in New Delhi for the alleged illegal sanctioning of loans amounting to Rs 1,875 crore to Videocon. It has been alleged that high-value loans were illegally given to Videocon between June 2009 and October 2011, when Chanda Kochhar was the bank CEO.
The Kochhars were investigated after a whistleblower complained that Videocon Group chairman Dhoot had transferred his personal stake in NuPower to Deepak Kochhar, in a quid-pro-quo for a loan extended by ICICI Bank to Videocon. The chargesheet has been filed before a special PMLA court in the city. “Investigations under PMLA revealed that loans were refinanced and new loans aggregating to Rs 1,730 crore were sanctioned to VIL and its group companies and these loans became Non-Performing Assets (NPA) for ICICI Bank on 30.06.2017,” the agency probe has revealed.
Investigation further revealed that Rs 64 crore of the amount of Rs 300 crore sanctioned by a committee headed by Chanda Kochhar to M/s Videocon International Electronics Limited, was transferred to M/s Nupower Renewables Pvt. Ltd. (NRPL), earlier known as M/s NuPower Renewables Limited, a company of Deepak Kochhar, by the VIL on September 8, just a day after the disbursal of loan by the ICICI Bank.
Further, a net revenue of Rs 10.65 crore was generated by the NRL from these tainted funds. Therefore, proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 74.65 crore were transferred to NRPL, the agency had earlier stated.
According to the ED, investigation had revealed that Chanda Kochhar and her family acquired the apartment at Mumbai owned by a company of the Videocon Group by way of acquiring that company through her family trust at a nominal price, by creating book entries.
Accordingly, assets amounting to Rs 74.54 crore held in the name of M/s Nupower Renewables Pvt. Ltd. and its subsidiaries; the flat located in Mumbai (book value of Rs 3.5 crore) and an amount of Rs 10.5 lakh have already been seized by the ED from the company of Deepak Kochhar; in all, being the proceeds of crime, have been provisionally attached by the ED under PMLA. Further, the agency has attached immovable assets consisting of flat, land, seized cash, plant and machinery at Windfarm Projects located in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, totalling Rs 78.15 crore in possession of accused Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and the companies owned by Deepak Kochhar.