ED arrests Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar for money laundering

Updated on Sep 07, 2020 09:43 PM IST

Deepak Kochhar’s arrest is the first in the multi-agency investigation launched against his wife in January last year for decisions taken by her as the head of a private bank in giving loans to the Videocon Group in lieu of bribes allegedly paid in their companies.

Officials said that Deepak Kochhar was arrested in Mumbai after he was called for questioning on Monday and will be produced in a court on Tuesday morning.(HT FILE PHOTO.)
Officials said that Deepak Kochhar was arrested in Mumbai after he was called for questioning on Monday and will be produced in a court on Tuesday morning.(HT FILE PHOTO.)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByNeeraj Chauhan | Edited by Sohini Sarkar

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday arrested former ICICI Bank MD-CEO Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar in connection with its money laundering probe against the couple and companies run by them, people familiar with the development said.

Officials said that Deepak Kochhar was arrested in Mumbai after he was called for questioning on Monday and will be produced in a court on Tuesday morning. He was confronted with several documents linked to alleged money laundering in his companies after which he was put under arrest, an officer said requesting anonymity.

Deepak Kochhar’s arrest is the first in the multi-agency investigation launched against his wife in January last year for decisions taken by her as the head of a private bank in giving loans to the Videocon Group in lieu of bribes allegedly paid in their companies.

Chanda Kochhar had stepped down from ICICI Bank on October 4, 2018, after allegations of irregularities surfaced against her.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is also investigating Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar for alleged corruption. 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 of companies between 2009 and 2011.

It has been alleged that a payment of Rs 64 crore was made into a Deepak Kochhar company - NuPower Renewables by Videocon in 2009, which was a quid pro quo from Dhoot for a loan of Rs 300 crore to Videocon.

While attaching properties worth Rs 78.15 crore belonging to Kochhars in January this year, ED had said that an amount of Rs 64 crore, out of the loan of Rs 300 crore sanctioned by a committee headed by Chanda Kochhar to Videocon International Electronics Limited, was transferred to M/s Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL, earlier known as M/s NuPower Renewables Limited, a company of Deepak Kochhar, husband of Chanda Kochhar) by VIL on September 8, 2009, just one day after disbursement of loan by ICICI Bank”.

“Further, net revenue of Rs. 10.65 crores was generated by NRL from these tainted funds,” it added.

The agency termed the flat at CCI Chambers, Churchgate, where Chanda Kochhar lives, was an “illegal gain”; she has lived there since 1997, as it was owned by a Videocon entity – QTAPL (Quality Appliances Pvt Ltd; now named Quality Techno Advisors Pvt Ltd) from 2009 till 2016.

“It is noticed that Chanda Kochhar and Venugopal N Dhoot are known to each other whereas family members of Chanda Kochhar are having joint holding in certain companies with the persons of Videocon group viz in NRPL (NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd) and SEPL (Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd). The nexus is evident from the changes in the shareholding patterns in the specified companies into and amongst such persons under a design and plan,” said an ED report in possession of HT.

The agency added that these suspected transfer of funds and changes in the companies have taken place both at the “corporate level” and at the “individual level”.

However, in an investigation report filed in a Delhi court, as first reported by HT in April 2019, ED had claimed that it was investigating a total of 24 loans aggregating Rs 7,862 crore that were given by the bank to Videocon Group between 2009 and 2018.

Both the agencies decided to look at quid-pro-quos between Videocon Group chief Venugopal Dhoot and Kochhars after it emerged that former was an investor in Kochhar’s husband, Deepak Kochhar’s company.

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