Shunted CBI cop in Chanda Kochhar case suspected of leaking info: Sources
Mishra’s transfer was part of a maze of mass transfers ordered by CBI’s interim director M Nageswara Rao ever since being given interim charge of the agency on January 10. HeUpdated: Jan 27, 2019 22:38 IST
A superintendent of police in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) who was transferred a day after registering an FIR in which former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar was named, was moved due to suspicion about his role in leaking information related to searches in the case, according to a senior CBI official who asked not to be named.
But another senior official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, countered this explanation saying that the SP, Sudhanshu Dhar Mishra, was allowed to file the FIR on January 22, even though his purported replacement, Mohit Gupta, had joined the bank fraud unit on January 21. “If CBI did not have faith in Mishra, why was he allowed to file the FIR?” the second officer asked. Mishra was moved from the bank fraud unit on January 23, and replaced with Gupta who took as the case SP and head of the branch. Mishra has been sent to Ranchi in the anti-corruption branch. Gupta was serving as SP in the CBI academy in Ghaziabad.
Mishra’s transfer was part of a maze of mass transfers ordered by CBI’s interim director M Nageswara Rao ever since being given interim charge of the agency on January 10. He was not the only officer in CBI’s bank fraud unit to be transferred recently. The deputy inspectors general (DIG) examining the case has been changed five times since October last year and joint directors (an inspector-general rank official) have been changed twice since January 11. One DIG, Jasbir Singh, was sent out of the unit a day after the registration of the FIR while a joint director, Praveen Sinha, was transferred on the day of registration of the FIR.
CBI said last week it has registered a case of criminal conspiracy and fraud against ICICI Bank’s former chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director (MD) Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar, and Videocon Group head Venugopal Dhoot, 13 months after it started an investigation into alleged irregularities in loans sanctioned to the Videocon Group companies.
Kochhar resigned from the bank last October.
A day after the FIR was filed, Union minister Arun Jaitley expressed his anguish over “investigative adventurism” of CBI in the ICICI case, where the investigative agency named several prominent bankers as “potential targets”. His reference is to all the names mentioned in the FIR filed by CBI, albeit not as accused but as people worth investigating in the case.
The agency has also recommended that the role of other senior ICICI Bank officials, Sandeep Bakshi, K Ramkumar, Sonjoy Chatterjee, Zarin Daruwala, Rajiv Sabharwal, KV Kamath and Homi Khusrokhan be looked into. Daruwala has left the bank and is now the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank’s Indian operations. Kamath is now head of the BRICS bank. Chatterjee too has left the bank and is the CEO of Goldman Sachs India. Khusrokhan is an independent director on the board of the bank. Sabharwal has also left the bank and is now the CEO of Tata Capital.
“One of the reasons why our conviction rates are poor is that adventurism and megalomania overtakes our investigators and professionalism takes a back seat,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post.
When contacted, a CBI spokesperson declined to comment.
First Published: Jan 27, 2019 15:06 IST