An investigation complaint was filed by the Enforcement Directorate in the multi-crore scam (under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002) against former ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar and 10 others, including the Videocon Industries Ltd's Managing Direction VN Dhoot, Kochhar and her husband.
Taking the cognizance of the same, a special court observed that Chanda Kochhar had prima facie misused her official position in granting loans to accused Videocon group of companies and received illegal gratification through her husband Deepak Kochhar.
Special Judge Abhijeet Nandgaonkar issued proceedings against all the 11 accused in the case. They have been sent summons for the offences under section 4 (money laundering) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. Leave has also been also granted to the ED to continue with the ongoing investigation and to take action thereon as per law.
“It is also transpired that, accused Mrs. Chanda Kochhar and her family have enjoyed facilities from accused Mr. V.N. Dhoot and/or Videocon Group of Companies,” the court observed.
The court also observed that Mrs. Chanda Kochhar and Mr. Deepak Kochhar were long associated with Mr. V.N. Dhoot and while issuing process, the learned judge thus stated:
“After going through the submissions, written complaints and statements recorded under PMLA, it appears that, accused Ms. Chanda Kochhar had misused her official position in granting loan to accused Mr. V.N. Dhoot and/or Videocon group companies and got illegal gratification/undue advantage through her husband accused Mr. Deepak Kochhar, per-se quid-pro-quo web-transactions, created by the accused persons through various companiies for siphoning off money and proceeds of crime.”
The ED had filed chargesheet against Kochars and Dhoots in November 2020.
According to the investigating agency, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Chanda Kochhar was MD and CEO of ICICI Bank when between June 2019 and October 2011, ICICI Bank had sanctioned six high value loans to various companies of Videocon Group in the tune of Rs 300 crore in contravention of the rules and policy of sanctioning committee. The court said that:
“Material gathered and produced by ED constitutes the commission of schedule offence”
The ED alleged that on 7 September 2009 Rs 300 crore was disbursed. The very next day i.e. on 08.09.2009, accused VN Dhoot transferred an amount of Rs 64 crore to Nupower Renewable Private Limited (NRPL) managed by accused Chanda Kochhar's husband Deepak, through his company Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL). Accoring to the ED, this was an illegal gratification.
The NRPL was incorporated on 24.12.2008 and Deepak Kochhar, VN Dhoot and Saurabha Dhoot were the first directors of the company. VN Dhoot and Saurabha Dhoot resigned from the directorship of this company on 15.01.2009. However, before resigning VN Dhoot allotted 19,97,500 warrants to Deepak Kochhar @Rs10/- per warrant on an initial payment of Rs 1/- per warrant.
On 05.06.2009, shares of the NRPL held by VN Dhoot and Deepak Kochhar group were transferred to the SEPL, which became 95 per cent shareholder of the NRPL. The SEPL was incorporated on 03.07.2008. VN Dhoot and Vasant Kade were first directors.
VN Dhoot resigned from the directorship of the SEPL on 15.1.2009 and transferred the control of the said company to Deepak Kochhar by selling/transferring his shares to Pinnacle Energy (PE) managed by Deepak Kochhar.
“ICICI bank sanctioned various loans of Rs 1,575/- to Videocon Group companies. However, these loans turned [into] NPA resulting in wrongful loss to the ICICI Bank and wrongful gain to the borrowers and accused persons. ICICI Bank had also released the security available in the form of FDR of Rs 50 crore in the accounts of SAL & TEL without any justification,” ED charge sheet said.
It further said, “On 01.05.209, Chanda Kochhar took over the charge of ICICI Bank as MD and CEO and thereafter, all the credit facilities, as stated above, sanctioned to Videocon group companies. These loans were sanctioned by the different sanctioning committees and Chanda Kochhar was one of the committee members, which had sanctioned RTL of Rs 300 crore to VIEL and Rs 750 crores to VIL.”
The case has now been adjourned to February 12, 2021.