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Last Updated : Mar 02, 2019 05:34 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

ED questions Chanda Kochhar, husband Deepak and Venugopal Dhoot's after raids on their residences, offices in Mumbai

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is conducting searches at the residences and offices of Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot, Chairman, Videocon Industries in relation to the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case.

Tarun Sharma @talktotarun

After a search that took more than 12 hours, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has bought the Chairman of Videocon Industries Venugopal Dhoot to agency's office for interrogation along with Mahesh Pungalia on March 1.

Mahesh Pungalia was a director on Nu power renewables, and a close aide of Dhoot.

Former MD and CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar were questioned on February 28 by the ED after raids were carried out at their offices and residences.

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This was the first time that Chanda Kochhar was questioned by the ED, which has also seized documents and electronic articles in raids carried out at 5 locations in Mumbai and Aurangabad. The agency will summon Kochhar and other suspects once again in connection with the case.

The ED conducted searches at the residences and offices of Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot, Chairman, Videocon Industries in relation to the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case on the morning of February 28. A team from Delhi is conducting the searches in Mumbai.

In February, the ED had registered a criminal case of money laundering against former ICICI Bank MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak, Dhoot and others and initiated a probe into alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning of loans worth Rs 1,875 crore by the bank to the corporate group.

Its Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act takes cognizance of the Central Bureau of Investigation’s FIR filed last month. An ECIR is the ED's equivalent of a police First Information Report or FIR.

The agency is probing whether “the alleged kickbacks generated in the loan deal were laundered to create tainted assets,” sources told Moneycontrol.

The CBI had earlier named Chanda and Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot and his companies -- Videocon International Electronics (VIEL) and Videocon Industries (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.

India’s premier investigating agency has slapped sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on all accused.

It may be noted that CBI had also conducted raids in this case on January 24. However, at that point in time, it had not conducted searches at the Chanda residence. Today’s searches would be the first by any investigation agency at the Chanda Kochhar’s residence.

It is alleged that Dhoot had invested in Nupower Renewables through his firm Supreme Energy in a quid pro quo for loans cleared by ICICI Bank after Chanda Kochhar took over as the CEO of the bank on May 1, 2009. It suspects that the ownership of Nupower and Supreme Energy changed hands through a complex web of shared transactions between Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot.

During its preliminary enquiry, the CBI found six loans worth Rs 1,875 crore were sanctioned to the Videocon Group and companies associated with it between June 2009 and October 2011 in an alleged violation of laid-down policies of ICICI Bank, which have now become part of the probe. The loans were declared non-performing assets in 2012, causing a loss of Rs 1,730 crore to the bank, it claimed.

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First Published on Mar 1, 2019 07:16 pm
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