The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested the ex-ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar in the alleged ICICI Bank – Videocon loan fraud case. A senior officer confirmed the allegations against Ms Kochhar that she cleared a loan for Videocon Group of Companies.
Who is Chanda Kocchar?
Chanda Kochhar is the former managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of ICICI Bank. Ms Kochhar was one of India’s most celebrated banking sensations and arguably the most prominent female chief executive in the country. Ms Kochhar was a role after she lifted ICICI bank during the recession and for nearly a decade, various surveys consistently called her one of the world’s most powerful and influential female CEOs.
How did her fall begin?
Ms Kochhar’s problems began in October 2016 when a piece of critical information was leaked that raised allegations of a conflict of interest against her. Initially, the issue did not attract much media attention, but in March 2018 the story began to gain traction in the Indian press.
It had been alleged that Ms Kochhar sanctioned loans to Videocon Industries, violating the bank’s lending policies, in exchange for investment by its owner Venugopal Dhoot in a business headed by Ms Kochhar’s husband. The fraud is said to be of a 3,250-crore loan issued by ICICI bank to the electronics company Videocon Industries.
How is her husband involved?
The CBI in the FIR registered had named the Kochhars and Dhoot, along with companies Nupower Renewables (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Limited.
It was also alleged that as a part of the quid pro quo, Dhoot made an investment of Rs 64 crore in Nupower Renewables through Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL) and transferred SEPL to Pinnacle Energy Trust managed by Deepak Kochhar between 2010 – 2012.
Chanda Kochhar is alleged to have cleared six loans worth Rs 1,875 crore for the Videocon Group and its associated companies during 2009-11.
Why the arrest now?
The CBI lawyer stated, “We had given both accused section 41 CrPC notice, but they didn’t cooperate, so we arrested them.” The Kochhars were called to the agency headquarters on Friday and arrested after a brief questioning session. The CBI has alleged that they were evasive in their responses and did not cooperate in the investigation.
The CBI also said that they found some files during the search operations at the Kochhar’s premises and presented them alongside the couple to the special court in Mumbai, seeking a 3-day custody.