The CBI has registered an FIR against former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar, VN Dhoot, MD of Videocon group, and others in a quid pro quo case involving loan irregularities worth Rs 3,250 crore. The case has been registered under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and PC Act, 1988. Earlier today, the CBI conducted raids at the Videocon offices in Mumbai and Aurangabad, and at the offices of Deepak Kochhar-led Nupower Renewables and Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd at Nariman Point.
Deepak's NuPower is in the eye of the storm due to the 'quid pro quo' allegations in the ICICI Bank's Rs 3,250-crore plus Rs 660 crore loans to Venugopal Dhoot-owned Videocon Industries in 2012. During the time these two loans were given to Videocon, Deepak Kochhar's NuPower allegedly received an identical 10 per cent foreign funding (Rs 325 crore and Rs 66 crore) from two Mauritius-based firms, First Land Holding Limited and DH Renewables Holding Limited.
The CBI has revealed that Chanda Kochhar got "illegal gratification" through Deepak from Videocon for sanctioning the loans. The agency said the Dhoot-led companies, Videocon International Elections and Videocon Industries, were given loans worth Rs 1,050 crore by the Kochhar-led panel. As per the FIR, total loans worth Rs 1,575 crore given by ICICI Bank to the Videocon group turned non-performing assets (NPA). Along with Chanda Kochhar, the CBI will also probe the roles of top ICICI Bank officials, including present CEO Sandeep Bakshi who was a part of the panel that approved these loans.
The CBI probe in the case started after ICICI shareholder and activist Arvind Gupta alleged that Chanda Kochhar influenced a Rs 3,250-crore loan to the Dhoot-led Videocon group in 2012 in return for a deal in NuPower Renewables and Supreme Energy, a clean-energy firm run by her husband Deepak Kochhar. Before that, his eight-page letter (dated 15 March, 2016) also brought those allegations to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister, RBI Governor, Sebi Chairman, Enforcement Directorate and CBI Chief, besides others. That caused a major social media frenzy, which forced ICICI Bank to issue a statement defending Kochhar.
After the row erupted, Chanda Kochhar stepped down from her position as the ICICI CEO and MD in October 2018.
Gupta had earlier told BusinessToday.In that his curiosity was aroused by a 10 per cent coincidence he noticed in ICICI's loans to Videocon group companies and foreign fund inflows into husband Deepak Kochhar's firm NuPower Renewables. NuPower Renewables was originally founded as a 50-50 JV between Dhoot family and Kochhar and Advani families (Chanda Kochhar's brother, Mahesh Advani), he added.
ICICI gave a loan of Rs 3,250 crore to Videocon group companies. Exactly 10 per cent of that amount (Rs 325 crore) was invested in NuPower in the form of compulsorily convertible preference shares by Mauritius-based Firstland Holdings. That investment was later transferred to DH Renewables Holding Limited, also from Mauritius.
Edited by Manoj Sharma