NEW DELHI: The new year brought further bad tidings for Chanda Kochhar, the beleaguered banker who had to resign from ICICI Bank last October over corruption charges, with the Central Bureau of Investigation formally filing a First Information Report against her in connection with the Videocon loan fraud case.
According to the FIR, the former MD and CEO of India’s second largest private sector bank allegedly sanctioned loans to the Videocon Group in a criminal conspiracy with other accused to cheat ICICI Bank.
The CBI also named Kochhar’s husband Deepak, Videocon Group chief Venugopal Dhoot, his companies Videocon International Electronics and Videocon Industries, another company founded by him called Supreme Energy, and Nupower Renewables, a firm controlled by Deepak, in the FIR filed late on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the agency conducted raids in Mumbai and Aurangabad including the Videocon headquarters in connection with the case. Investigation teams also swooped down at offices of Nupower Renewables and Supreme Energy in Nariman point in Mumbai.
The case gained traction last year when a whistle-blower alleged Kochhar’s family benefited from the dealings. According to the complaint, Kochhar got ICICI Bank to grant a loan of Rs 3,250 crore to Videocon Group in 2012 and in return Dhoot invested Rs 64 crore in her husband’s firm NuPower Renewables.
It was alleged ICICI Bank was cheated to the tune of Rs 1,730 crore. The Rs 3,250 crore loan also turned bad. The debt was part of a Rs 40,000 crore loan which Videocon got from a consortium of 20 banks led by SBI.
The CBI registered a preliminary enquiry in the case last year, which has now been converted into an FIR.
The accused have been booked under IPC Sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Curiously, present chief of ICIC Sandeep Bakhshi was also part of the committee that cleared the loans. He, along with other members — Sonjoy Chatterjee, Zarin Daruwala, Rajiv Sabharwal, K V Kamath and Homi Khusrokhan — may also come under investigation.
Kamath under lens?
The CBI will call all the accused to record their statements soon.
The scope of the investigation may also be expanded to look into the role of other members of ICICI Bank’s loan committee, such as former chairman K V Kamath, which cleared the Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon Group in 2012