The Bombay High Court has granted interim bail to Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot in the ICICI-Videocon loan fraud case. He will be out of judicial custody provided he furnishes Rs 1 lakh bail cash.
The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justices Revati Mohite Dere and PK Chavan.
Dhoot, a co-accused, along with former ICICI Bank MD Chanda Kochhar and businessman-husband Deepak Kochhar, was arrested on December 26 by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The CBI stated that Dhoot was non-cooperative. A special court remanded Dhoot to judicial custody on December 29.
The Videocon Group Chairman approached the special court challenging his arrest, which was rejected by the court. Following this, Dhoot approached the Bombay High Court to challenge his alleged ‘illegal arrest’.
His lawyer argued that Dhoot’s arrest was arbitrary, illegal and in gross violation of Sections 41 and 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), according to a report in Bar and Bench. The lawyer also argued that Dhoot appeared before the CBI on his own on December 26 after he missed the summons on December 24 and 24. He said that despite that Dhoot’s non-appearance was considered non-cooperation and he was arrested.
The CBI counsel said that the Kochhars and Dhoot systematically tried to evade interrogation, and hence was arrested for his non-cooperation.
The Kochhars were also given bail in the same case on January 9. The Bombay High Court held that their arrests were not in accordance with the law. A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and PK Chavan said that the arrests were made in violation of Section 14A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that states that a notice must be sent before the appearance of the concerned police officer.
The Kochhars and Dhoot were arrested in connection with allegations of loan fraud. Chanda Kochhar is alleged to have sanctioned loans to Videocon Group in exchange for kickbacks in the way of investments by Dhoot in Deepak Kochhar’s Nupower Renewables. It is alleged that the bank sanctioned credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore to Videocon Group.
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