Chanda Kochhar, Videocon Chief Called For Questioning In Loan Case Today

 
Chanda Kochhar, Videocon Chief Called For Questioning In Loan Case Today

MUMBAI: The Enforcement Directorate today summoned former ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon managing director Venugopal Dhoot for questioning in a loan case. The probe agency said it has asked them to come for questioning around noon in Mumbai.

The summons were sent a day after the homes and offices of the Kochhars and Mr Dhoot were searched by the Enforcement Directorate.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has already issued a look-out circular against Ms Kochhar and has revived ones against her husband Deepak Kochhar and Mr Dhoot. Look-out circulars are notices sent to transit points like airports to restrict the movement of people under investigation by probe agencies.

The case is related to a loan given by ICICI Bank to Videocon when Chanda Kochhar was heading it, and the business ties between Venugopal Dhoot and her husband.

Mr Dhoot allegedly invested crores of rupees in NuPower Renewables, a company founded by Ms Kochhar's husband, months after Videocon group was granted a loan by ICICI Bank.

It was part of a Rs. 40,000-crore loan which Videocon got from a consortium of 20 banks led by State Bank of India. The Rs. 3,250 crore loan has become a non-performing asset for ICICI Bank.

The CBI is currently examining evidence collected during searches at the homes and offices of the three accused right after a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against them last month.

Taking note of the FIR filed by the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate also filed a case and is looking at money laundering angle.

Ms Kochhar, 56, had quit as CEO and managing director of ICICI Bank in October last year over allegations that she favoured Videocon group in the bank's lending practices.

A whistleblower alleged that the Kochhars and their family members benefited from the dealings.

Ms Kochhar worked at India's third-biggest lender for over three decades, rising through the ranks to become one of the most influential women bankers. She has said she was "utterly disappointed, hurt and shocked."

"I reiterate that none of the credit decisions at the bank are unilateral ... the organisation design and structure obviate the possibility of conflict of interest," she said in a statement last month. "I have served ICICI for the last 34 years with all my dedication and hard work. I have never shied away from taking tough decisions whenever required to be taken in the best interest of the organisation."