ICICI Bank loan fraud: Court orders release of Kochars from judicial custody
09 January 2023
The Bombay High Court on Monday ordered the release of former ICICI chief executive officer Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar from judicial custody. The CBI had, on 23 December, arrested by the couple for alleged involvement in a loan fraud case pertaining to the Videocon Group
The high court found the arrest inappropriate and illegal. "We have held that the petitioners' arrest was not in accordance with provisions of law and this warrants their release," the court observed,
A division bench of justices Revati Mohite Dere and PK Chavan ordered their release on a cash bail of Rs1 lakh each with one or more sureties of the same amount.
The bench said the duo shall cooperate with the probe and attend the CBI office as and when summoned. The court also asked the Kochhars to surrender their passports to the CBI.
The HC had, on Friday, reserved its order on the petitions filed by Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar over the issue of alleged "illegal arrest" by the CBI.
The Kocchars had termed their arrest "illegal" on the ground that the CBI had not obtained any court sanction to arrest them. The couple then moved the court challenging their arrest by the CBI in connection with the bank loan case.
The CBI had, in 2019, filed an FIR against Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Videocon's Venugopal Dhoot along with Nupower Renewables (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar, Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Limited as well as another private company Supreme Energy as accused in the Rs3,250 crore loan fraud case involving ICICI Bank and the Videocon Group.
In the FIR filed under Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the CBI had alleged that ICICI Bank sanctioned Rs3,250 crore credit to Videocon Group companies in violation of the Banking Regulation Act, RBI guidelines and the bank’s own credit policy.
The investigating agency also alleged that as a part of a quid pro quo, Dhoot made an investment of Rs64 crore in Nupower Renewables through Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL), and transferred SEPL to Pinnacle Energy Trust managed by Deepak Kochhar through a circuitous route between 2010 and 2012.