Venugopal Dhoot, Chairman of the Videocon Group, was today arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the ICICI loan case. This comes days after former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar were arrested by the CBI in a case linked to alleged irregularities in an over Rs 3,000-crore loan provided to the Videocon Group when she was heading the private sector bank.
The Kochhars are being interrogated after being presented in a Mumbai court.
The CBI had named the Kochhars and Mr Dhoot, along with companies NuPower Renewables (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd, and Videocon Industries Limited, as accused in the FIR registered under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act in 2019.
According to the charges in the case, Venugopal Dhoot allegedly invested Rs 64 crore in NuPower Renewables, as a part of the quid pro quo, months after the Videocon group was granted the loan by the bank in between 2010 and 2012.
The loan was cleared by a committee of which Ms Kochhar was a member, alleges the CBI. The agency says she abused her official position and “got illegal gratification/undue benefit through her husband from Dhoot for sanctioning Rs 300 crore to Videocon.”
It was part of a Rs 40,000 crore loan which Videocon got from a consortium of 20 banks led by the State Bank of India.
Chanda Kochhar, 59, had quit as CEO and managing director of ICICI Bank in October 2018 over allegations that she favoured the Videocon Group, a consumer electronics and oil and gas exploration company.
Saying that she violated the bank’s code of conduct and internal policies, ICICI said a year later that it would treat Ms Kochhar’s exit as “termination for cause”.
The CBI had alleged that ICICI Bank had sanctioned credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore to the companies of Videocon Group promoted by Mr Dhoot in violation of the Banking Regulation Act, RBI guidelines, and credit policy of the bank.
Chanda Kochhar has denied any wrongdoing.