Chanda Kochhar, former ICICI bank CEO, and her husband Deepak Kochhar will be freed after a court today said their arrests last month were illegal.
"What was the reason to arrest the petitioners after four years is not spelt out in the arrest memos, as mandated. The ground for arrest of the petitioners mentioned in the arrest memos is in clear breach of the mandatory provisions," the Bombay High Court said in its ruling.
The High Court also said that just because "an accused does not confess, it cannot be said that the accused have not co-operated with the investigation."
The huge reprieve from the Bombay High Court comes just before the wedding of the Kocchars' son on January 15.
The two had challenged their arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on December 23 in a case linked to alleged irregularities in a Rs 3,000-crore loan provided to the Videocon Group when Chanda Kochhar was heading the private sector bank.
They had also questioned the timing of the arrest, citing their son's wedding.
Venugopal Dhoot, Chairman of the Videocon Group, was also arrested by the CBI in the ICICI loan fraud case.
The Kochhars argued before the High Court that their arrest is illegal as they had been complying with agency's conditions, including not tampering with the case.
Last week, the court made it clear that it was hearing the Kochhars' petitions not because of their son's wedding but to inquire into the question of compliance.
The CBI has filed cases of corruption and conspiracy against the Kochhars and Venugopal Dhoot, along with companies NuPower Renewables (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd, and Videocon Industries Limited.
The CBI alleges that ICICI Bank sanctioned a loan of Rs 3,250 crore to companies of the Videocon group in violation of the Banking Regulation Act, RBI guidelines and the credit policy of the bank.
According to the investigators, as quid pro go, Venugopal Dhoot made an investment of Rs 64 crore in Deepak Kochhar's Nupower Renewables through Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL), and transferred SEPL to Pinnacle Energy Trust managed by Deepak Kochhar through a circuitous route between 2010 and 2012.