Chanda Kochhar appear before Enforcement Directorate

Mumbai: A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out multi-city raids at the offices and residences of Chanda Kochhar, the former chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director (MD) of the ICICI Bank, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group MD Venugopal Dhoot, the trio was summoned at ED’s Ballard Estate office for questioning. Police sources said the raids continued till late night on Friday and the ED asked the Kochhars and Dhoot to be present for questioning.

An ED official said, the Kochhars and Dhoot were primarily questioned on Friday evening, when searches at her residence and offices were underway. However, as the ED could not get satisfactory answers on the lines of their investigation, the accused trio was summoned for a detailed questioning at the ED office on Saturday. While the search at Kochhar’s premises went on till 8 pm on Friday, Dhoot was questioned till 11 pm on the same night.

On Saturday, the Kochhars walked into the ED’s Ballard Estate office at 11.15 am, following which Chanda Kochhar left the premises before 2 pm. However, her husband Deepak was being quizzed by the ED for the alleged partnership and investment made by Dhoot in his company, NuPower Renewables. An ED official said, Dhoot did not turn up for questioning till Saturday evening, but they are hopeful he will appear before the ED.

ICICI Bank and Chanda Kochhar had been under regulatory scrutiny after primary investigation revealed that Dhoot had provided crores of rupees to a firm, set up with Deepak Kochhar and two relatives. This firm was reportedly set up six months after the Videocon Group got a loan of Rs 3,250 crore from ICICI Bank in 2012. The ED is probing whether the alleged kickbacks generated in the loan deal were laundered to create tainted assets by Dhoot.

The ED had registered a criminal case of money laundering against Chanda and Deepak Kochhar, Dhoot and others in February and booked them under relevant sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). An investigation was then initiated into the alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in the sanctioning of loans worth Rs 1,875 crore by the bank to the corporate group between June 2009 and October 2011, in an alleged violation of the bank’s policies.

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