ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case: Delhi HC asks ED to respond to Deepak Kochhar’s plea to quash FIR
The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Enforcement Directorate on a petition moved by Deepak Kochhar, the husband of former ICICI Bank chairperson Chanda Kochhar, seeking quashing of the ED’s FIR filed against him under money laundering case in connection with an alleged misappropriation in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan matter.
The bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani while seeking a response on the plea asked the ED to file a status report in the matter. The court granted time to the ED to file a status report on the issue of territorial jurisdiction and medical ground and listed the matter for further hearing on October 14.
Deepak Kochhar has also sought interim bail on the ground of his present medical condition as he is admitted to a private hospital here after being tested positive for COVID-19. Advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Vijay Aggarwal appeared for him stated that his arrest by the ED is “illegal” as he even has not been supplied a copy of the FIR registered by the ED against him. The Central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, representing the ED, raised a preliminary objection on the maintainability of the petition. Kochhar has alleged that the ED has not followed the procedure prescribed under law and a copy of the FIR has not been supplied to him to date.
Kochhar’s lawyer has also challenged his arrest and has contended that the ED could not have produced him in Mumbai but could have only taken transit remand from Mumbai as the ED acquiesced to Delhi’s jurisdiction.
The ED had arrested Kochhar on September 7 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case probe. Kochhar, who is currently in judicial custody, was brought to Delhi by ED for the purpose of questioning. During the period he was tested COVID-19 positive.
Advocate Amit Mahajan appeared for the ED opposed the petition on maintainability ground stating that although the ECIR was recorded in the national capital, since the offence was committed in Mumbai, the jurisdictional court is special judge, Mumbai and appeal would lie before the Bombay High Court.
The economic offences watchdog had earlier stated that Kochhar is involved in the laundering of the proceeds of crime and has been involved in projecting the proceeds of crime as untainted. It said that he directly attempted to indulge, knowingly assist, is knowingly a party and is actually involved in process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property.