ICICI Bank case: Chanda Kochhar threatened Dhoot, asked him to invest in husband's firm, says ED
BusinessToday.In December 8, 2020
Videocon Group chief and co-accused in the ICICI Bank money laundering case Venugopal Dhoot has alleged that the ICICI Bank's former CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar threatened to ruin his and his family's name by declaring (ICICI Bank) loans as NPAs (non-performing assets).
Dhoot, according to sources, has revealed to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) the entire money trail on the suspected quid pro quo between the Kochhars and him (for the loans sanctioned to Dhoot). He has told ED that Rs 64 crore was transferred to Deepak Kochhar's company Nupower Renewable Private Limited (NPRL) to get the loans sanctioned by ICICI Bank in 2009.
In a statement to the federal probe agency, Dhoot alleged that he was forced by Chanda Kochhar to invest in her husband's company before sanctioning loans to the Videocon group. The revelation by him is part of ED's chargesheet filed recently.
Chanda Kochhar was part of the committee that heard the proposals of the Videocon group for loan sanctioning. The company had made around 28 proposals to the ICICI Bank, of which around eight were sanctioned. Chanda Kochhar was part of the sanctioning as well as recommending panel in four such proposals made by the Videocon group.
ED officials recorded Dhoot's statement thrice - in July, September, and October this year. During the questioning, Dhoot allegedly mentioned that Deepak Kochhar had asked him to invest in his wind power project. Since Dhoot needed the loan, Deepak Kochhar asked him to meet his wife Chanda Kochhar.
According to him, Chanda Kochhar asked Dhoot to help her husband (Deepak Kochhar) in his wind power project and invest in NRPL as well. Following this, Dhoot transferred Rs 64 crore to NRPL a day after the Rs 300 crore loan was sanctioned to the Videocon group.
Dhoot told agency officials that he did not have any choice but to accept the quid pro quo offer by Kochhars as well as transfer Rs 64 crore to Deepak Kochhar-owned NRPL, otherwise, the loan proposals would have been in limbo. The ICICI Bank sanctioned loans worth around Rs 1,875 crore to the Videocon group and its sister concerns between 2009 and 2011, which were in complete violation of banking regulations and ICICI Bank policies.
Dhoot, in his statement to ED, also stated that it was a "well-devised" scheme of Chanda Kochhar. In January this year, the agency registered a money laundering case following an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the Kochhar couple, Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot and others.