Kochhar is uncooperative and evasive: ED to court

Mumbai: A sessions court has remanded Deepak Kochhar, husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar in ED custody till September 19. The ED told the court that he is not cooperating in the investigation and his custodial interrogation is required.

Kochhar was produced before the court around 1 pm after his arrest last evening. Appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh sought his custody for 14 days. He told the court that a day after ICICI Bank sanctioned Rs 300 crore to Videocon International Electronics Limited (VIEL), Rs 64 crore was sent by Videocon Chairman and MD Venugopal Dhoot through a company to a company Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd. managed and controlled by Deepak Kochhar. Deepak Kochhar’s wife Chanda Kochhar was a chairperson of the committee which had sanctioned the loan.

Special Public Prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves also appeared for the agency. The ED told the court that Kochhar is being evasive, misleading the investigation and that there are crucial aspects of funds his company received and money trail that need to be investigated.

Kochhar’s advocate Vijay Agarwal assisted by advocate Rahul Agarwal, argued that Kochhar has joined the agency’s investigation 12 times, has submitted all relevant documents and that custodial interrogation was not required.

Agarwal said that Kochhar’s detention is illegal and that he had been arrested the previous day at 10.30 am. Hence, has been produced beyond the period of 24 hours as is required. The investigation officer said that Kochhar was arrested at 8 PM. The court said in its order that considering the submission of the officer, the argument of illegal detention does not sustain.

Granting Kochhar’s custody to the agency till September 19, the court said that it has been submitted by the agency that investigation on certain crucial aspects regarding sources of suspected funds received by Kochhar’s company and the money trail is necessary. The court said that there is a voluminous record to be investigated, hence custodial interrogation is necessary.

The court also turned down Kochhar’s plea for home food and short meetings with family members. A plea to meet his advocate was allowed on specific dates for 15 minutes each, during his custody with the agency.

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