ICICI’s loan to Videocon: CBI investigating case, Chanda Kochhar not a suspect
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has started a preliminary enquiry (PE) to determine whether any wrongdoing was involved in the sanctioning of a Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon Group by ICICI Bank Ltd as part of a consortium of banks in 2012.
“Venugopal Dhoot, promoter of Videocon Group, Deepak Kochhar (husband of ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) Chanda Kochhar) and unknown others have been named as suspects in the PE,” said a CBI official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official said Chanda Kochhar had not been named as a suspect in the case.
“The PE was registered a few weeks back,” said the official.
When contacted, a CBI spokesperson confirmed that the agency was looking into the matter and a PE had been registered. A PE is held to determine if there is enough evidence of wrongdoing for suspects to be tried.
A PE can be converted into a regular case or a first information report (FIR) when sufficient material becomes available to show that a cognizable offence has been committed.
News reports have raised questions about ICICI Bank’s loan to Videocon because of dealings that the latter’s chairman Venugopal Dhoot had with NuPower Renewables, a company founded by Deepak Kochchar.
An email sent to NuPower remained unanswered as of press time. Dhoot did not respond to a text message seeking comment. ICICI Bank too did not respond to an email seeking comment.
ICICI Bank’s board chairman MK Sharma had on Thursday defended Chanda Kochhar and pointed out she did not need to recuse herself from the credit committee that sanctioned the loan because Videocon group was not an investor in NuPower Renewables.
(With inputs from Remya Nair of Mint)