The CBI has accused former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar of conspiring with her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon chief V.N. Dhoot to cheat her bank.
New Delhi: In the cheating and criminal conspiracy case registered against former ICICI Bank MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon MD V.N. Dhoot, the CBI has pointed to two transactions — which took place one day apart in 2009 — as key.
According to the CBI’s FIR, Deepak Kochhar’s Nupower Renewables Ltd received its first major investment from a company associated with Dhoot one day after ICICI Bank disbursed a loan to one of Videocon’s group companies.
The CBI filed the FIR on 22 January under various sections of the Indian Penal Code against both the Kochhars, Dhoot, Nupower, Supreme Power, Videocon Industries Ltd and one of its group companies, accusing them of a criminal conspiracy to cheat ICICI Bank.
The probe agency conducted searches at four places in Mumbai and Aurangabad Thursday in connection with this case.
The key transaction
The FIR alleges that the Rs 300 crore rupee term loan to Videocon International Electronics Ltd was approved by a sanctioning committee of which Chanda Kochhar was a part. As a result, Chanda Kochhar misused her position and received “illegal gratification/undue benefit” through her husband.
The loan was disbursed on 7 September 2009, and on 8 September, Nupower Renewables received its first major capital investment from Dhoot’s Supreme Power Energy Ltd, which helped it acquire its first power plant, the CBI said. The ownership of Supreme Power was subsequently transferred from Dhoot to Deepak Kochhar through a series of transactions.
The FIR goes on to say that after Chanda Kochhar took charge as the MD and CEO of ICICI Bank on 1 May 2009, the bank approved loans amounting to Rs 1,575 crore to various Videocon group companies. Some of these loans were to repay the loan taken from another group company — Videocon Industries — in a direct violation of the bank’s existing credit policy.
How the case unravelled
ICICI bank’s exposure to the Videocon group was classified as an NPA as on 30 June 2017.
Chanda Kochhar was forced to go on indefinite leave till a bank-appointed committee under retired Supreme Court Justice B.N. Srikrishna probed her role in the loan disbursements to the Videocon group.
She resigned in October 2018, giving rise to speculation about what the Srikrishna committee had unearthed. The committee’s report is yet to be submitted.
The CBI FIR also questioned the role played by other senior bank officials who, in some capacity, were part of the decision-making process and said their role “may also be investigated”. Those named include the current MD and CEO of ICICI Bank Sandeep Bakshi, former chairman K.V. Kamath, and other present and former officials including K. Ramkumar, N.S. Kannan and Rajiv Sabharwal.