The CBI on Thursday booked former ICICI Bank head Chanda Kochhar on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and abuse of official position for “dishonestly sanctioning loans to the Videocon Group”.
Kochhar, who was the MD of ICICI Bank until last October, is accused in the CBI FIR of allegedly receiving “illegal gratification through her husband, Deepak Kochhar, from Videocon MD VN Dhoot for sanctioning a term loan of Rs 300 crore to Videocon International Electronics Ltd”. This apart, her alleged role in influencing disbursal decisions in relevant committees of the bank has also been brought under the scanner.
The CBI has also named Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd, Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and unknown public servants as accused in the case. It has alleged “the accused (Chanda Kochhar) sanctioned certain loans to private companies in a criminal conspiracy with other accused to cheat ICICI Bank”.
The case has been filed under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act. On Thursday, a day after it registered the FIR, the CBI conducted searches at four locations — the Mumbai and Aurangabad offices of Videocon Group and offices of Nupower Renewables and Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd in Mumbai.
In 2012, a consortium of 20 banks and financial institutions had loaned Rs 40,000 crore to Videocon Group and 12 of its subsidiaries. ICICI Bank was one of the financial institutions which granted a loan of Rs 3,250 crore to Videocon.
Just six months after the loan was approved, Kochhar’s husband gets controlling stake in a company which Videocon MD Venugopal Dhoot set up with him, Chanda Kochhar and two of her relatives in December 2008, reported The Indian Express.
After setting up the company, Dhoot had given a loan of Rs 64 crore to NuPower Renewables and subsequently transferred its ownership to Pinnacle Public Trust head by Deepak Kochhar for just Rs 9 lakh.
The nexus between the loan awarded and transfer of NuPower Renewables led to allegations of quid pro quo against Chanda Kochhar. Almost 86 per cent of the loan Rs 2,7810 crore out of Rs 3,750 crore — remained unpaid, following which Videocon was declared a non-performing asset (NPA).