In a huge development, the CBI on Thursday booked former ICICI CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar for cheating in the Rs 3,250 crore scam case. The CBI, according to sources, have also booked her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot
The CBI have also named K V Kamath, Sanjoy Chatterjee, NS Kanan, Sandeep Bakshi Rajeev Sabharwal, Zarin Daruwala, Homi Khushroo Khan and Ram Kumar in the FIR. They too are likely to face the prosecution since, according to the FIR, the decision to grant a loan of Rs 1575 crore to Dhoot, had their approval.
The federal probe agency has been investigating the allegation of quid-pro-quo in the loan granted to Videocon by the ICICI Bank, which Chanda Kochhar headed until she was forced to resign.
The CBI have also started its raids at the Videocon headquarters in Mumbai and Aurangabad, and at Deepak Kochhar’s Nupower office in Mumbai. The CBI, according to news agency PTI, had registered a preliminary inquiry against Videocon promoter Venugopal Dhoot,Deepak Kochhar and unidentified others in March last year. A preliminary inquiry is a precursor before the agency lodges an FIR to probe criminal charges on the basis of evidence collected during the former exercise.
What’s Rs 3,250 crore ICICI Scam?
The matter had first surfaced after a whistle-blower, Arvind Gupta, demanded an appropriate investigation into ‘illicit banking and commercial relationship between Videocon Group of Venugopal Dhoot and ICICI Bank’s MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar’s family owned NuPower Renewable Group steered by her husband Deepak Kochhar.’
In his letter written, among others, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gupta had accused Kochhars of ‘amassing wrongful personal gains by deceiving stakeholders, shareholders, public / private sector banks and Indian Regulatory Agencies for unjust and illegal enrichment through corrupt banking practices within India and tax heavens by a high level CBI/ED/SFIO/SEBI/the RBI team to ensure healthy private sector Banking.’
According to the complaint, Dhoot provided Rs 64 crore to Chanda Kochhar’s husband Rs 64 crore in 2010 through a fully-owned entity to NRPL, which he had set up with Deepak Kochhar and two of his relatives. Dhoot then allegedly transferred proprietorship of the company to a trust owned by Deepak Kochhar for Rs 9 lakh, six months after he received the loan of Rs 3,250 crore from ICICI Bank.
You can read the full letter here. Gupta had also informed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley about it. ICICI bank has rejected the charges calling it “malicious and unfounded.”
In May last year, the Securities and Exchange Board of India had served notices to ICICI bank and the then CEO Chanda Kochhar asking their responses on alleged non-compliance of the “erstwhile ‘Listing Agreement’ and the ‘Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015′”.
Kochhar was also summoned by the anti-fraud agency, SFIO, in a bank fraud case related to over Rs 5,000 crore loan extended to diamond merchant Mehul Choksi.