ED files chargesheet against ex-ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar, her husband
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a chargesheet in a Mumbai court against former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group MD Venugopal Dhoot in a fraud case.
The court is yet to take cognizance of the chargesheet. According to people quoted by news agency PTI, the chargesheet or the prosecution complaint was filed on Tuesday under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED had launched a probe into money laundering after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case of corruption against the Kochhars. The CBI had initiated an inquiry in 2017 against the couple after allegations surfaced that ICICI had sanctioned a credit facility of about Rs 3,250 crore to various entities in contravention to the rules and policies.
The ED had earlier arrested Deepak Kochhar in September and a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court had remanded him to the central agency’s custody till October 17.
Money laundering charges were slapped against the Kochhars and their business establishments by the ED for “illegal sanctioning of loans amounting to Rs 1,875 crore to the Videocon Group of companies”.
In its FIR registered in January last year, CBI had alleged that six high-value loans worth Rs 1,875 crore were given by ICICI Bank to Videocon group companies between 2009 and 2011. It was alleged that in 2009, a credit facility to Videocon was extended in contravention of rules and policies by the sanction committee. At that time Chanda Kochhar was one of the members of the sanction committee.
Further, a loan of Rs 300 crore was disbursed to M/s Videocon international electronics limited, a Videocon Group Company, on September 7, 2009. It is alleged that an amount of Rs 64 crore - out of a loan of Rs 300 crore - was transferred to M/s NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd by Videocon Industries Limited (VIL) on September 8, 2009.
The ED probed the allegations and said that VIL transferred the money to NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRL) through Supreme Energy Private Limited (SEPL), which was later acquired by Pinnacle Energy, a family trust of Deepak Kochhar’s. The agency also claimed that NRL was owned, controlled and managed by Deepak Kochhar.
“The loan funds travelled from VIL to NRL through SEPL, but two intermediary companies were brought in for purpose of layering. The proceeds, Rs 64 crore, received by NRL were utilised for the purchase of properties,” ED claimed in its remand application while seeking Deepak Kochhar’s custody in September.
The federal agency also claimed, “A residential property, an apartment at CCI Chambers was purchased for Rs 5.25 crore on February 19, 1996 by Credential Finance Limited (CFL) (A company in which Videocon Group had substantial interest along with Deepak and Chanda Kochhar and their family). CFL defaulted in repayment of the loan of Rs 4.7 crore availed from SBI (for which the said apartment was placed as security). Videocon paid off the dues in 2009, the ownership of the apartment was transferred to M/s Quality Appliances Pvt Ltd (QAPL), now known as M/s Quality Techno Advisors Pvt Ltd (QTAPL), a Videocon group company) from CFL. On November 26, 2016, total shareholding of QTAPL was acquired by Quality advisors (a family trust of Deepak Kochhar’s set up by Chanda Kochhar’s mother) for a nominal consideration of Rs 11 lakh.”
(With agency inputs)