The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned former Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar on May 3 in connection with the Videocon money laundering case. The probe agency has asked Kochhar to make a personal appearance before it in Delhi with a detailed list of movable and immovable assets owned by her.
Her husband Deepak Kochhar has also been summoned along with her brother-in-law Rajeev Kochhar on April 30. ED's investigating officer in the case will record their statements under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED has asked Chanda to make full disclosure to the probe agency in line with the one she made to RBI, SEBI and other regulators. This development comes in the wake of evidence collected by ED, which implies that the former ICICI Bank MD & CEO was the sole beneficiary of the loans sanctioned to 'certain individuals' and 'firms'.
It has been alleged that the Videocon Group had invested Rs 64 crore and Nishant Kanodia's Firstland Holdings had put in Rs 325 crore in Deepak Kochhar's firm- NuPower Renewables in 2010 soon after they were sanctioned loans by the ICICI Bank.
"It is important to note that, both these companies which invested in the company of Deepak Kochhar were sanctioned loan by ICICI Bank at a time when his wife Chanda Kochhar was at a top position in the bank. It does raise suspicion and we are investigating the same," a source said.
According to India Today TV, Chanda had tried to shift the blame on other ICICI bank officials in her preliminary statement. She also maintained that the loan sanction committee had taken the decision to grant the loans.
However, according to the agency sources, ED's investigation disclosed that no other employee except for Chanda benefited directly or indirectly from the sanctioning of the loans. As per the sources, Chanda did not have any explanation as soon as she was confronted with the documentary evidence by the interrogators.
The ED purportedly has the evidence against former ICICI MD & CEO, who they questioned for four days in the last few weeks. The agency has also claimed to have tracked a money trail involving quid pro quo transactions between the Kochhars and Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot.
The ED is also investigating the details of a $530 million loan granted to Essar Steel Minnesota LLC during Chanda's tenure in 2010. Similar to the Videocon case, ICICI leading a consortium of banks had sanctioned $530 million loan to Essar that turned into a non-performing asset in 2013.