NEW DELHI: Former ICICI Bank MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar has sought exemption from questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), citing poor health. The ED has been quizzing Chanda Kochhar and husband Deepak Kochhar for fifth straight day, in connection with alleged quid pro quo loans to Videocon Group.
“Chanda Kochhar has requested an exemption from appearing due to poor health. The agency is yet to consider her request,” an official at the agency told TNIE. On Wednesday, the ED had grilled the couple for over eight hours.
The case was initially centred around six high-value loans sanctioned by ICICI Bank to various Videocon companies between June 2009 and October 2011, soon after Kochhar took over as the CEO. It was inferred that the Kochhars had allegedly received “illegal gratification” in lieu of the granting of loans. However, sources now claim that there must be many such loans that were granted. The agency is investigating if a similar model was followed in assigning other loans too.
According to an internal investigation report of the agency, loans worth Rs 7,862.20 crore — fresh loans as well as renewals of loans and guarantees — were sanctioned by the private bank to Videocon Group companies.
As per claims by the investigative agency, Chanda Kochhar was a part of the sanctioning committee, which had approved a loan of `300 crore to Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) in September 2009 and Videocon Group MD Venugopal Dhoot had allegedly transferred `64 crore from VIEL to NuPower Renewables Limited, a day after the loan was sanctioned. NuPower Renewables was promoted by Deepak Kochhar.
The ED is probing the shareholding patterns of other firms, which points to the involvement of more family members.