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ICICI Bank-Videocon case: ED arrests Deepak Kochhar on charges of money laundering

On January 31, the ED lodged a case of money laundering against Chanda and Deepak Kochhar, Videocon CMD Venugopal Dhoot and others.

September 08, 2020 / 08:02 PM IST

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on September 7 arrested former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar's husband Deepak Kochhar in connection with the ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case.

On January 31, the ED registered a money laundering case against Chanda and Deepak Kochhar, Videocon CMD Venugopal Dhoot and others over alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning of loans worth Rs 1,875 crore by ICICI Bank to the corporate group.

"The ED has arrested Deepak Kochhar as he was not cooperating with the agency during the probe. The agency will produce him at a Sessions Court in Mumbai tomorrow and seek transit remand," a source close to the development told Moneycontrol.

The ED initiated an investigation against Deepak Kochhar under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), on the basis of an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on January 22, 2019, under sections 120 B, 420 of the Indian Penal Code.

The ED found that loans were refinanced and new loan aggregating Rs 1,730 crore was sanctioned to Videocon Industries Limited (VIL) and its group companies. These loans became non- performing assets (NPAs) for ICICI Bank on June 30, 2017.

The ED investigation further revealed that an amount of Rs 64 crore, out of a Rs 300-crore loan sanctioned by a committee headed by Chanda Kochhar to Videocon International Electronics Limited, was transferred to Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL), earlier known as NuPower Renewables Limited -- a company owned by Deepak Kochhar -- on September 8, 2009, just a day after its disbursement by ICICI Bank.

Moreover, net revenue of Rs 10.65 crore was also generated by NRPL from these tainted funds. Therefore, the proceeds of crime generated by NRPL stand at Rs 74.65 crore.

Investigations also revealed that Chanda Kochhar and her family acquired an apartment in Mumbai owned by one of the Videocon group companies, by way of acquiring that company through her family trust at a nominal price by creating book entries.

Accordingly, proceeds of crime totalling Rs 78.15 crore, which include Rs 74.54 crore held in the name of NRPL and its subsidiaries, the flat in Mumbai with a book value of Rs 3.5 crore, and an amount of Rs 10.5 lakh seized from a company of Deepak Kochhar, have been provisionally attached by the ED under PMLA.

In January this year, the ED had also provisionally attached movable and immovable assets worth Rs 78.15 crore -- consisting of flat, land, seized cash, and machinery of wind farm projects located in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra –in possession of accused Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar.

After the CBI and ED case, Chanda Kochhar had resigned as MD and CEO of ICICI Bank on October 4, 2018.

The investigating agencies have already registered statements of Venugopal Dhoot and Chanda Kochhar’s brother-in-law Rajiv Kochhar, who is also under the scanner as he is involved in loan restructuring business and most of his clients have received loans from ICICI Bank.

Tarun Sharma
first published: Sep 7, 2020 08:53 pm