Deepak Kochhar, the husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case involving the ICICI Bank and Videocon Group. After questioning Mr Kochhar, he was arrested on Monday night.
According to an NDTV report of Monday (September 7), the ED had filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) early last year against Ms Kochhar, her husband, and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon Group.
The case is supposed to investigate alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning Rs. 1,875 crore in loans by ICICI Bank to the Videocon Group.
The ED has claimed that since Mr Kochhar has not been cooperating in the investigation, he needs to be placed under arrest. He is expected to be taken to an anti-money laundering court in Delhi today.
The NDTV report adds that the ED is also investigating at least two other cases of loans given by ICICI Bank during Ms Kochhar’s tenure to Gujarat-based pharmaceutical firm Sterling Biotech and to Bhushan Steel Group. Both these businesses, according to the report, are also being probed on alleged money laundering charges.
The ED case is based on a complaint registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is conducting a parallel investigation into the case involving these three companies. NuPower Renewables, a company controlled by Deepak Kochhar, had also been named in the case.
According to the NDTV report, the CBI has alleged that Mr Dhoot invested in NuPower through another company – Supreme Energy – in a quid pro quo deal via loans cleared by ICICI after Ms Kochhar took over as CEO of the bank in May 2009.
In preliminary investigations, it is reported that the CBI found six loans worth Rs. 1,875 crore were sanctioned between June 2009 and October 2011, in alleged violation of established policies. These loans were declared non-performing assets in 2012, causing a loss of Rs. 1,730 crore to the bank, the CBI further alleged.
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