The Bombay High Court (HC) held that the arrest of Chanda Kochhar, former managing director and chief executive officer (MD&CEO) of ICICI Bank and her husband Deepak Kochhar, by the central bureau of investigation (CBI) in the Videocon loan case is illegal. In January last year, the HC allowed the release of Ms Kochhar and her husband, Deepak Kochhar, on a cash bail of Rs1 lakh each and observed that the arrest was not in accordance with the law.
A division bench of justice Anuja Prabhudessai and justice NR Borkar also confirmed the interim bail granted to her on 9 January 2023.
According to a report from Bar & Bench
, the HC also held that the arrest was in violation of section 41A of the code of criminal procedure (CrPC) which mandates sending notice for appearance before the concerned police officer.
Last year in January, the Bombay HC ordered the release of Ms Kochhar and her husband, Deepak from judicial custody in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan fraud case.
In December 2022, CBI arrested the Kochhars in connection with a loan fraud case involving bank officials and the Videocon group.
A senior official from CBI told IANS that the arrests were made from Delhi, whereas the fraud first information report (FIR) was filed with its Mumbai branch in January 2019 against Ms Kochhar, her husband and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon group.
"We had filed an FIR for the offence of forgery, cheating, using fake documents as genuine, hatching a criminal conspiracy and having common intention against the bank officials and the Kochhars," the official says.
Nupower Renewables, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Ltd were also named as accused in the FIR.
CBI action in 2018 came in the wake of the news reports raising questions about Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot allegedly providing crores of rupees to a firm promoted by Mr Kochhar and his two relatives six months after Videocon group got the Rs3,250 crore loan from ICICI Bank. It was alleged that Mr Dhoot transferred a considerable portion of the loan to a company he jointly owned with Mr Kochhar.
It was alleged that ICICI Bank sanctioned credit facilities of about Rs3,250 crore to Trend Electronics Ltd, Century Appliances Ltd, Kail Ltd, Value Industries Ltd and Evan Fraser & Co India Ltd, all companies belonging to the Videocon group promoted by Mr Dhoot.
"The officials of ICICI Bank sanctioned credit facilities to these companies in violation of Banking Regulation Act, RBI guidelines and credit policy of the bank," read the first information report (FIR) accessed by IANS.
Ms Kochhar was on the sanctioning committee of ICICI Bank, deciding on two loans—Rs300 crore to Videocon International Electronics (VIEL) on 26 August 2009 and Rs750 crore to Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL) on 31 October 2011.
The term loan of Rs300 crore sanctioned to VIEL was disbursed on 7 September 2009. The next day, Mr Dhoot transferred Rs64 crore to NuPower Renewables Ltd (NRL) through Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL) founded by him.
Ms Kochhar was sacked from ICICI Bank a few months after she voluntarily quit. Later, she challenged her dismissal in January 2019, while the mandatory 'prior sanction' was given by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in March 2019.
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