Mumbai: 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 on Friday.
These searches were conducted to find evidence related to loans worth Rs 1,875 crore sanctioned by the ICICI Bank to the Videocon group which had turned non-performing assets (NPA), thereby causing a loss of Rs 1,730 crore to the bank, when Kochhar was the CEO.
According to a statement by ED officials, ICICI Bank and Chanda Kochhar had been under regulatory scrutiny after primary investigation in the case revealed Dhoot had provided crores of rupees to a firm, which he had 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.
A senior ED official said the agency is probing whether the alleged kickbacks generated in the loan deal were laundered to create tainted assets by Dhoot. Not only were searches conducted at the residence and offices of Chanda and Deepak Kochhar, the ED also searched the office of Matix Group in connection with the alleged transactions between the companies of Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot.
The ED had registered a criminal case of money laundering against Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak, 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.
The Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) had earlier named Chanda and Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot and his companies — Videocon International Electronics Limited (VIEL) and Videocon Industries Limited (VIL) – in its complaint.
It also named Supreme Energy, a company founded by Dhoot, and Nupower Renewables, a company controlled by Deepak, in its FIR. The last time when CBI investigated the matter, Kochhar’s offices were raided. However, this is the first time her residence in Mumbai was raided by the ED.