Chanda Kochhar granted bail in Videocon loan case

A Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Friday granted bail to former managing director and chief executive officer of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar in an Enforcement Directorate case pertaining to the Bank and Videocon Group.

After taking cognizance of the chargesheet filed by the ED on January 30, the special court had summoned all accused including Ms. Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot to be present in court.

Special judge A.A. Nandgaonkar granted bail on a cash bond of ₹5 lakh and directed Ms Kochhar not to leave the country.

Earlier on November 12, 2020, the court had rejected the default bail granted to Mr. Deepak Kochhar.

The ED has relied upon a FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2019.

The FIR charged Ms Kochhar with cheating and criminal conspiracy and causing loss to ICICI Bank by sanctioning loans to the Videocon Group of companies in contravention of rules and policies of the ICICI Bank. These loans given to the Videocon Group have turned Non Performing Assets (NPA) and thus resulted in wrongful loss to the ICICI Bank and wrongful gain to the borrowers and accused persons, the chargesheet said.

CBI’s case states, “From June-2009 to October-2011, ICICI Bank had sanctioned six high value loans to various Videocon Group companies. On August 26, 2009, Rupee Term Loan (RTL) of ₹300 crore was sanctioned to Videocon International Electronics Limited (VIEL) in contravention of the rules and policy by the sanctioning committee. Ms. Kochhar was one of the members of the sanctioning committee, who in criminal conspiracy to cheat ICICI Bank and in pursuance of criminal conspiracy, on the same day dishonestly by abusing her official position sanctioned this loan in favour of VIEL.”

The investigation by ED under PMLA, “revealed that the rate of interest charged by ICICI Bank on the said loan of ₹300 crore (which was later refinanced on 26.04.2012 and sanctioned to Videocon Industries Limited) was more than 12% per annum, since disbursement of this loan, which at times increased to more than 14% per annum.”

ED said, “On April 26, 2012, the existing outstanding of the six accounts were adjusted in RTL of ₹1730 crore sanctioned under refinance of domestic debt. The account of VIL and its group companies were declared NPA w.e.f. June 30, 2017. Thus, causing loss to ICICI Bank.”

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