ED files chargesheet against Kochhars, Venugopal Dhoot, others

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a chargesheet against Chanda Kochhar, ICICI Bank’s former chief executive officer and managing director, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group chief Venugopal Dhoot, in a case allegedly involving credit facilities extended to group companies.

The agency had arrested Mr. Kochhar in the same case in September. The probe is linked to an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in January 2019, alleging that ₹64 crore was paid in lieu of the loans to the tune of ₹1,875 crore sanctioned to the Videocon Group companies.

Based on the findings, in January, the ED attached assets worth ₹78.15 crore of Ms. Kochhar, and that of her husband’s companies, Nupower Renewables Private Limited, which was earlier known as NuPower Renewables Limited (NRL), and its subsidiaries.

The ED alleged that Ms. Kochhar and her family acquired a Mumbai flat, which was also attached, at a nominal rate by taking over a Videocon Group entity through a trust.

As a quid pro quo, Mr. Dhoot also allegedly invested in NRL via Supreme Energy Private Limited (SEPL), which was later transferred to Pinnacle Energy Trust, purportedly controlled by Mr. Kochhar.

Mr. Kochhar, Mr. Dhoot and Saurabh Dhoot were earlier directors in NRL, which was set up in December 2008. The Dhoots later resigned in January 2009, after over ₹19.9 lakh warrants worth ₹10 per unit was transferred to Mr. Kochhar on an initial payment of ₹1 per unit. In June 2009, the NRL shares of Mr. Dhoot and the Deepak Kochhar group were transferred to SEPL and it became 95% shareholder of NRL, it was alleged.

The agency alleged that ₹.64 crore, paid from a loan of ₹300 crore sanctioned to Videocon International Electronics Limited, was transferred by Videocon Industries Limited on September 8, 2009, a day after the disbursement.

According to the CBI, during Ms. Kochhar’s tenure, the bank had sanctioned six high-value loans to various Videocon Group entities between June 2009 and October 2011. The outstanding amount as on April 26, 2012, was adjusted as another term loan of ₹1,730 crore. The accounts turned non-performing assets in June 2017.


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