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Drivers, gardeners, office boys appointed directors in Deepak Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot's firms: ED

Some of these employees had claimed that they had no knowledge about the existence of the companies for which they were made directors.

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | December 9, 2020 | Updated 15:40 IST
Drivers, gardeners, office boys appointed directors in Deepak Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot's firms: ED

A charge sheet filed by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the ICICI Bank bribery scandal involving its former managing director Chanda Kochhar has come out with fraudulent revelations. The charge sheet filed in November this year reveals that Chanda Kocchar's husband - Deepak Kocchar - along with Videocon Group chairman Venugopal Dhoot had appointed drivers, gardeners, office boys, and other junior employees as dummy directors in their respective companies.

The charge sheet filed on November 3 was accessed by Hindustan Times, and included recorded statements by the ED of the said by employees. Some of these employees had claimed that they had no knowledge about the existence of the companies for which they were made directors.

Kesharmal Nensukhlal Gandhi, a part of the team of domedstic help at Dhoot's bungalow in Ahmednagar since 1994, held the position of director in IRCL (Indian Refrigerator Company Ltd), revealed the charge sheet. Gandhi had told the law enforcement agency that he was "neither aware about the company IRCL, nor aware about his directorship in IRCL and others." He also told ED that he was made to sign documents by Dhoot, but hadn't attended any board meetings of the company nor was he aware of any transactions being carried out.
Laxmikant Sudhakar Katore, who worked as a gardener in M/s Videocon International from 2001 till 2016 too was made director in multiple companies and held 50% shares in Real Cleantech Pvt Ltd (RCPL). For monetary compensation however, Katore received only his salary of Rs 10,000 from the company.

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Another Videocon employee working with the company since 1998 - Vasant Sheshrao Kakade - was made director in more than 100 companies of Videocon group. Occupying himself with the departments of administration, banking, income tax filings, and service tax returns, he was also director of Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL) from 2008 till 2011, as well as director in IRCL. Kakade claimed that he never saw any documents before signing them.

Deepak Kochhar has also indulged in misappointing people as directors, in that the appointed people had nothing to do with the business of his companies.

His childhood friend Anand Mohan Dalwani was made director in six companies, and had told ED about signing documents at Kochhar's behest.

Chanda Kochhar's brother's wife Neelam Mahesh Advani was also made director in Pacific Capital Services Pvt Ltd (PCSPL)  and other companies of Deepak Kochhar but she was a "benami person holding shares of these companies," commented ED.

An office boy in Deepak Kochhar's company - Echanda Urja Pvt Ltd - Sharad Shankar Mhatre, who takes care of Kochhar's father and often works as a driver for the family, was also a dummy director at PCSPL. Additionally, working as an office boy at Echanda Urja Pvt Ltd, another one of Kocchar's companies, he also signed various documents being oblivious to the business of these companies.

Additionally, ED has argued that a Rs 64 crore investment by Videocon group into Deepak Kochhar's company NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL) was bribe money.

"No board resolution was passed by board of directors of SEPL, IRCL, RCPL and VIL (Videocon Industries Ltd) for investment of Rs64 crore in NRPL and assigning of loans to IRCL and Real Appliances Pvt Ltd later. Also, no documents were created among these companies for the same," ED charge sheet.

Meanwhile, Kochhars' lawyer Vijay Aggarwal has shunned the charge sheet, deeming the allegations by ED baseless and inconsequential in the eyes of the courts. On the other hand, Dhoot could not be reached for a comment.

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