Former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar Skips ED Questioning, Cites Poor Health
Former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar on Monday skipped questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a multi-crore Videocon loan case. Kocchar skipped the meeting citing poor health condition. She didn’t appear before the agency last week too.
Last month, the ED had questioned Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar five times. The case relates to alleged irregularities in the sanction of Rs 1,875 crore loan provided by ICICI Bank to the Videocon Group between 2009 and 2011.
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Kochhar, who resigned from the CEO posts of ICICI bank on October 2018, was accused in the CBI FIR of allegedly receiving “illegal gratification through her husband, Deepak Kochhar, from Videocon MD VN Dhoot for sanctioning a term loan of Rs 300 crore to Videocon International Electronics Ltd”.
Apart from registering the First Information Report (FIR) in the ICICI-Videocon loan fraud case, the investigative agency also raided several locations. Of these Mumbai offices of Videocon, Deepak Kochhar’s NuPower Renewables, and Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd were on the top list.
CBI further mentioned several senior banks officials in relation to the case, as they were in the sanctioning committee that cleared loans amounting to Rs 1,575 crore.
An investigative report by The Indian Express claimed that Rs 2,810 crore out of the Rs 3,250 crore loan has not yet been paid and the account of Videocon was declared non-performing asset (NPA) in 2017.
The report mentions that Videocon MD Venugopal Dhoot started a joint company, NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL), with Deepak Kochhar and two of the latter’s relatives in December 2008. Dhoot had a 50% share in NRPL whereas the other 50% of shares were owned by Kochhar and Pacific Capital, a company owned by his father and Chanda Kochhar’s brother’s wife.
After just a month, in January 2009, Dhoot resigned from the position of director of NRPL. He also went on to transfer his 24,999 shares in the company to Kochhar for Rs 2.5 lakh.
Additionally, Supreme Energy Private Limited, a company in which Dhoot reportedly has 99.9% stake, lent a loan of Rs 64 crore to NRPL, in March 2010 and by the end of the month, Supreme Energy went on to become 94.99 % shareholder in NRPL. This step was preceded by a series of transfer of shares first between Dhoot and Kochhar and later between Pacific Capital and Supreme Energy.
In November 2010, as per reports, Dhoot went on to transfer his entire shares in Supreme Energy to Mahesh Chandra Punglia, his associate.
Punglia transferred his holding in Supreme Energy to Pinnacle Energy, where Deepak Kochhar was the managing trustee. The total value of the transfer of shares amounted to Rs 9 lakh.
Supreme Energy then gave a loan of Rs 64 crore to NPRL and then got absorbed into Pinnacle Energy within three years.
As of March 2017, Registrar of Companies records says that Deepak Kochhar held an about 43.4% in NPRL both as direct holding and through Supreme Energy and Pinnacle.