In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon Group spoke about the ICICI Bank-Videocon row.
Also watch JN Gupta, Former ED of Sebi, Sandeep Parekh, Founder of Finsec Law Advisors, and Shriram Subramanian, Founder & MD of Ingovern give their views on the controversy.
Below is the verbatim transcript of the interview with Venugopal Dhoot.
Shereen: We want to ask you for clarification. What was the reason for the Rs 64 crore transaction between you and NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd which was a company of Deepak Kochhar can you explain to us that particular transaction?
A: Rs 64 crore matter we don't know, Videocon Industries Limited or Videocon Group has not given any Rs 64 crore investment in whatever company you called.
Latha: That Supreme Energy you were a shareholder, you owned a large stake in Supreme Energy and that company subscribed to convertible debentures of Rs 64 crore at a time when you owned that company and that is why I am asking you why did you all make that debenture investment in exchange for what?
A: It is a wrong information and my huge investment I had some Rs 50,000 investment - that is huge is okay for me. But that is not a huge amount Rs 50,000. I don't have any connection with Supreme Industries what company call I don't know.
Latha: The report say that you were the owner of Supreme Energy or a large shareholder of that company Supreme Energy?
A: Rs 50,000 is large.
Latha: Not Rs 50,000 that you owned Supreme Energy and Supreme Energy subscribed to Rs 64 crore of convertible debentures?
A: Whatever share I have of Supreme Energy I sold.
Latha: When did you sell? Because it looks like you have sold it after the transaction? The report says that you sold the shares of Supreme Energy in November of 2010 but the subscription to the debentures was in March of 2010?
A: Some information is going wrong. I am telling you that I sold these shares before what you are called some investment has been made by the Supreme Industries.
Latha: You are saying that you sold the shares in Supreme Energy before Supreme Energy subscribed to the convertible debentures is that what you are saying?
A: Yes, what Supreme Energy did later on I don't know. I am not involved with Supreme Energy, I am not involved in that.
Shereen: Can you clarify for us when did your involvement with Supreme Energy ends?
A: I don’t remember the date. It is too long. I am not involved with Supreme Energy and I have not invested, Videocon has not invested any money in Supreme Energy.
Latha: My team is still trying to access from the registrar of companies, details of Supreme Energy. I don’t have it right away with me. Indian Express says that it has already accessed that report.
A: I don’t agree with Indian Express.
Latha: They say that you sold the stake after the investment in the debentures were made but you say that is incorrect.
A: That is all wrong information. I am too modest to say that Indian Express is wrong but these type of things should not be done. They need to check all these things.
Latha: Can you detail when you invested in NuPower and when did you have investments in Supreme Energy, around what time?
A: Time I don’t know but I am telling you these were few thousand rupees and since it is few thousand rupees, I cannot just understand and know it.
Shereen: Could I ask you whether any investigative agency has reached out to you asking you for clarifications, have you been issued a show-cause notice with respect to your dealings with the NuPower, with respect to the transaction between you and Deepak Kochhar since 2016?
A: I swear and tell you that no agency has ever made any inquiry with me about all this matter which you are talking, Rs 64 crore and I don’t know and no investigation agency in the country has asked me because they know that I have not invested.
Only one thing I will explain you, the other factor which you are telling that you are telling that Tuskar, was given Rs 660 crore loan by ICICI Bank. Please understand this loan was given not when Chanda Kochhar was Managing Director, Rs 660 crore loan was given to foreign company in 2006 and it was written back in 2010 with interest without default.
Regarding this, a show-cause notice was issued by Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to us and we replied it properly and FEMA said that there is no violation, it is on the record of Enforcement Director that there is no violation from our side and we have not made any violation. This Tuskar matter why got linking with this matter I don’t understand.
Latha: I am asking you the Enforcement Directorate got in touch with you only with respect to Tusker?
A: Only with Tusker and not for any other thing.
Latha: But did they get in touch with you for your investments in Supreme Energy or in NuPower?
A: No, I have not done anything wrong, I am telling you nobody, any investigation agency has asked me any question.
Latha: Did ICICI Bank board reached out to you and asked you about your investments in NuPower?
A: No, nothing like that, because we are not there why they will come to me.
Shereen: Has the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised any questions with you and again I ask you this only because letter to the effect of suggesting that there has been impropriety in the dealings between you, Deepak Kochhar and Chanda Kochhar's involvement via ICICI Bank have made it to the Prime Minister's office as well on the March 15th in 2016 have you heard from the Reserve Bank of India for instances seeking any questions or clarifications on any of these transactions?
A: I am telling you that no questions were asked because I am not involved in this transaction, I have invested only few thousands rupees in that and that is why you are asking me all these questions buy nobody, no regulator nobody has asked me any question because it is not in their records that I have done anything wrong.
Shereen: Can you explain to us why you chose to invest in Deepak Kochhar's company to start with? Was there a joint venture or were you merely an investor in Deepak Kochhar's company and secondly why did you choose to then exit that within a matter of what about a month or so?
A: That is a good question. I will tell you. At that time we were investing in various renewable energy companies. Still we have got investments -- Deepak Kochhar’s company also I had invested a few thousand rupees but I thought I have done too much and now I don't want to go ahead so I sold my shares back and I don't have any investment in Deepak Kochhar's company today.
Latha: Just to reiterate, I know I have asked you this question already two times but just to reiterate, you say that when you owned Supreme Energy, at that time the company had not made any convertible debenture investment in NuPower, you are very clear about that.
A: I reiterate that when my investment was there, at that time Rs 64 crore investment was not made by any Videocon company. Videocon company has got no investment in Mr Kochhar's company like such a big amount. Such a big amount Videocon Industries or Videocon Group companies have not made in Deepak Kochhar's company.
Shereen: While you have tried to address this issue of this Rs 64 crore and you say that this had nothing to do with your involvement and you had exited Supreme Energy, you have no knowledge about this whatsoever. Can you tell us how long were you the owner of Supreme Energy, forget when you exited Supreme Energy, can you tell us how long you were the owner of Supreme Energy?
A: I think it is for few days only; that much I know. How you are linking me with this story I do not understand. It is really pity to know that you are linking me to this. I am not involved.
Shereen: We are reading out allegations that have been made by Dr Arvind Gupta to the Prime Minister and to other investigative agencies. We are asking you the questions, the allegations that have been made publically since 2016 which is why we are asking you these questions.
A: I understand there are thousands of questions and letters are received by various government agencies every day; it must be one of that. I do not understand why he has written and where he has taken all these information. I do not understand.For entire discussion, watch accompanying videos...