Chanda Kochhar, Questioned Till 4 AM, Visits Probe Agency's Office Again

Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot were summoned by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in a loan case

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Ex-ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, husband Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot summoned by ED


Mumbai: 

Highlights

  1. Chanda Kochhar questioned by Enforcement Directorate
  2. Her husband Deepak Kochhar also questioned
  3. Videocon chief Venugopal Dhoot too appeared for questioning

Hours after the Enforcement Directorate questioned former ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kochhar till 4 am this morning in a loan case, she was back at the probe agency's office at noon today. She left half-an-hour later. Her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon managing director Venugopal Dhoot are still at the Enforcement Directorate's office, sources said.

They were summoned by the Enforcement Directorate a day after the homes and offices of the Kochhars and Mr Dhoot were searched by the probe agency. The search at Ms Kochhar's premises went on till 8 pm on Friday, sources said. Venugopal Dhoot was questioned till 11 pm yesterday.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had issued a look-out circular against Ms Kochhar and has revived ones against her husband Deepak Kochhar and Mr Dhoot. Look-out circulars are notices sent to transit points like airports to restrict the movement of people under investigation by probe agencies.

The case is related to a loan given by ICICI Bank to Videocon when Chanda Kochhar was heading it, and the business ties between Venugopal Dhoot and her husband.

Mr Dhoot allegedly invested Rs 64 crore in NuPower Renewables, a company founded by Ms Kochhar's husband, a day after Videocon group was granted a loan of Rs 200 crore by ICICI Bank.

It was part of a Rs. 40,000-crore loan which Videocon got from a consortium of 20 banks led by State Bank of India. The Rs. 3,250 crore loan has become a non-performing asset for ICICI Bank.

The CBI is currently examining evidence collected during searches at the homes and offices of the three accused right after a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against them last month.

Taking note of the FIR filed by the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate also filed a case and is looking at money laundering angle.

Chanda Kochhar, 56, had quit as CEO and managing director of ICICI Bank in October last year over allegations that she favoured Videocon group in the bank's lending practices.

A whistleblower alleged that the Kochhars and their family members benefited from the dealings.

Ms Kochhar worked at India's third-biggest lender for over three decades, rising through the ranks to become one of the most influential women bankers. She has said she was "utterly disappointed, hurt and shocked."

"I reiterate that none of the credit decisions at the bank are unilateral ... the organisation design and structure obviate the possibility of conflict of interest," she said in a statement last month. "I have served ICICI for the last 34 years with all my dedication and hard work. I have never shied away from taking tough decisions whenever required to be taken in the best interest of the organisation."

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