Chanda Kochhar, Her Husband Deepak Kochhar arrested in Videocon Loan Fraud
Moneylife Digital Team/ IANS 23 December 2022

ICICI Bank's former managing director and chief executive (MD&CEO) of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, and her husband and businessman, Deepak Kochhar were on Friday arrested by the central bureau of investigation (CBI) in connection with a loan fraud case involving bank officials and the Videocon Group.

A senior official from CBI told IANS that the arrests were made from Delhi, whereas the fraud first information report (FIR) was filed with its Mumbai branch in January 2019 against Ms Kochhar, her husband and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon group.

"We had filed an FIR for the offence of forgery, cheating, using fake documents as genuine, hatching a criminal conspiracy and having common intention against the bank officials and the Kochhars," the official says.

The CBI official says that they will produce Ms Kochhar and her husband before a court and will seek their custodial remand. "We have also conducted search operations at their premises and have recovered a few documents connected to the case."

Nupower Renewables, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Ltd were also named as accused in the FIR.

CBI action in 2018 came in the wake of the news reports raising questions about Videocon chairman Mr Dhoot allegedly providing crores of rupees to a firm promoted by Mr Kochhar and his two relatives six months after Videocon group got the Rs3,250 crore loan from ICICI Bank. It was alleged that Mr Dhoot transferred a considerable portion of the loan to a company he jointly owned with Mr Kochhar.

Ms Kochhar was sacked from ICICI Bank a few months after she voluntarily quit. Later she challenged her dismissal in January 2019, while the mandatory 'prior sanction' was given by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in March 2019.

The Justice BN Srikrishna Committee that probed allegations against the former MD&CEO of ICICI Bank found that she violated the bank's code of conduct in dealing with conflict of interest and fiduciary duties in the case of loans to Videocon that had routed a part of the money to a company owned by her husband, Deepak.

In November 2022, the Bombay high court (HC) held that the retrospective termination of Ms Kochhar from ICICI Bank is prima facie a valid termination. A single bench of justice Riyaz Chagla observed that Ms Kochhar had not come to court with 'clean hands'.

"ICICI Bank did not have complete knowledge of the facts, including the non-disclosures by Ms Kochhar (at the time of her resignation)...these facts were disclosed only on receipt of the inquiry report. I have held that the termination was a valid termination and Ms Kochhar didn't come to court with clean hands," the court said, adding, "Ms Kochhar is restrained by an order of injunction from dealing with any of the 6.90 lakh shares..."

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