ICICI Bank loan fraud: CBI files charge sheet against Kochhars, Dhoot

The CBI has moved to file its final report before a special court in Mumbai without the mandatory requirement of sanction to prosecute Chanda Kochhar from ICICI Bank

(L-R); Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot, Former MD and CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar
(L-R); Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot, Former MD and CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar
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PTI

The CBI has filed a charge sheet against former MD and CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot in a Rs 3,250 crore loan fraud case, officials said on Saturday.

The agency has filed the charge sheet under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, among others, they said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named nine entities, including companies and individuals, according to the officials.

The CBI has moved to file its final report before a special court in Mumbai without the mandatory requirement of sanction to prosecute Chanda Kochhar from ICICI Bank, the officials said.

A letter had been sent to the bank seeking the sanction but its response is awaited, they said.

Generally, the special court waits for the sanction before proceeding with taking cognisance of the charge sheet and subsequently initiating the trial, if warranted.

The special CBI court is yet to take cognisance of the charge sheet, the officials said.

In the case of denial of sanction to prosecute, the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act will not apply, they said.

The agency arrested the Kochhars and Dhoot in December last year.

Opposing the CBI's plea for remand, senior advocate Amit Desai, appearing for the Kochhars, had brought to the court's notice a letter ICICI Bank wrote to the CBI in July 2021 stating that it incurred no wrongful loss in any of the transactions under question.

The Bombay High Court had granted the couple bail on January 9, underlining that the CBI's move to arrest them was "casual, mechanical and perfunctory and clearly without application of mind".

The HC had noted that in the present case, the grounds of arrest are merely stated as non-cooperation and not giving full and correct disclosure.

"The reason given in the arrest memos to arrest the petitioners, having regard to the facts as stated aforesaid, appears to us, to be casual, mechanical and perfunctory, clearly without application of mind," the court had observed.

The bench held the arrest of the Kochhars was in violation of Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which mandates sending notice for appearance before the police officer concerned.

The CBI's FIR names the Kochhars and Dhoot along with Nupower Renewables (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Limited and Videocon Industries Limited as accused.

The agency has alleged that ICICI Bank sanctioned credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore to the companies of the Videocon Group promoted by Dhoot in violation of the Banking Regulation Act, RBI guidelines, and the credit policy of the bank.

It also alleged that as a part of a quid pro quo, Dhoot made an investment of Rs 64 crore in Nupower Renewables through Supreme Energy Private Limited (SEPL) and transferred SEPL to Pinnacle Energy Trust managed by Deepak Kochhar through a circuitous route between 2010 and 2012.

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