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Chanda Kochhar is just the tip of the iceberg: Whistleblower on CBI FIR in ICICI-Videocon loan case

Arvind Gupta, who blew the lid on the alleged Videocon loan fraud, said the case registered by CBI against Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group head Venugopal Dhoot for criminal conspiracy and fraud is just a good beginning.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2019 11:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Chanda Kochhar resigned in October last year after seeking early retirement and was replaced by Sandeep Bakhshi. The 56-year-old had headed ICICI since May 2009.
Chanda Kochhar resigned in October last year after seeking early retirement and was replaced by Sandeep Bakhshi. The 56-year-old had headed ICICI since May 2009. (Arvind Yadav/ HT Photo)
         

Arvind Gupta, who blew the lid on the alleged Videocon loan fraud, said the case registered by CBI against former chief executive of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group head Venugopal Dhoot for criminal conspiracy and fraud is just a good beginning.

The Central Bureau of Investigation registered the case on Thursday 13 months after it started an investigation into alleged irregularities in loans sanctioned to the Videocon Group companies.

The federal investigation agency was looking into a possible quid pro quo where Chanda Kochhar may have favoured Videocon, which had an investment in a firm promoted by her husband Deepak Kochhar. She initially denied there was any conflict of interest, and the bank’s board backed her at first.

“I think this is just a good beginning of the investigation. Its roots will go further deep and outside India also. I want the government to see how few companies in India are getting money from abroad. Whose money is this? Chanda Kochhar is just a tip of the iceberg. The situation is the same in all the banks. I feel all the corrupt bankers will now think 10 times before doing something wrong,” Gupta said, according to news agency ANI.

“The bad condition of banking today is because of favouritism and corruption. Not only Chanda Kochhar, but there are also many people in the organisation who should be looked into. I cannot give a clean chit to independent directors, the board of director and even the chairman. The entire ICICI team from top to bottom needs to be investigated,” the whistleblower said.

The agency’s investigation officer has also recommended that the role of other senior ICICI Bank officials, Sandeep Bakhshi, K Ramkumar, Sonjoy Chatterjee, Zarin Daruwala, Rajiv Sabharwal, KV Kamath and Homi Khusrokhan, be looked into. The Hindustan Times has seen a copy of the first information report (FIR) of the agency which lists these names, although they have not been accused of anything.

The names include those of some of the bank’s directors, including non-executive directors. Some of the names are of people who were on the bank’s credit committee, which signed off on the Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon in 2012.

The agency’s officers on Thursday carried out searches following the registration of the FIR at four premises of Dhoot’s Videocon Group and Deepak Kochhar’s company Nupower Renewables Ltd in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad and Mumbai.

Besides the Kochhars and Dhoot, the FIR names four companies, Nupower, Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL), Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL) as accused along with “other unknown private persons” and “unknown public servants”.

Chanda Kochhar resigned in October last year after seeking early retirement and was replaced by Sandeep Bakhshi. The 56-year-old had headed ICICI since May 2009.

First Published: Jan 25, 2019 11:04 IST

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