CBI accuses Chanda Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot of not cooperating
Chanda Kochhar, the former managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank, and her husband Deepak Kochhar are not cooperating with the investigation of the Videocon loan scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told a Mumbai court. The agency submitted that Venugopal Dhoot, the promoter of Videocon Group and the alleged partner-in-crime, is also not cooperating with the probe.
Why does this story matter?
- Chanda Kochhar was one of the most admired banking executives in the country. Her fall from grace in connection with a scam took the country and world by surprise.
- The case has been out of vogue for a while. However, the arrests of the three main culprits have injected fresh life into the matter.
- The pertinent question is, will we finally get closure?
CBI court remanded them into custody for 3 days
The Kochhars were arrested on December 24 in connection with the loan scam, while Dhoot was apprehended on December 26. The trio was presented before special court judge AS Sayyad. CBI sought their custody for three days, accusing them of not cooperating with the investigation. Allowing CBI's request, the court remanded all three to CBI's custody till December 28.
The accused's advocates questioned CBI's allegation
During the remand hearing, Mr. Kochhar's lawyer Vikram Chaudhary argued that the remand request did not mention how or why Mr. Kochhar was not cooperating with the investigation. Mrs. Kochhar's advocate Amit Desai too posed a similar question. "The CBI did not investigate for two days. How can it then say that my client is not cooperating?" he asked.
Chanda Kochhar allegedly sanctioned loans in violation of credit policy
Kochhars and Dhoot were arrested as part of an investigation into the loan scam that rocked India's banking sector. The central agency, in an FIR submitted in 2019, alleged that Mrs. Kochhar sanctioned loans to Videocon Group in violation of the bank's credit policy, RBI guidelines, and Banking Regulation Act. The loans later turned into non-performing assets (NPAs), resulting in losses for the lender.
Kochhars allegedly accepted bribe from Dhoot
In the FIR, CBI alleges that the Kochhars received illegal gratification from Dhoot for sanctioning the loans. The latter allegedly invested Rs. 64 crore in NuPower, of which the proprietorship was later transferred to a trust owned by Mr. Kochhar. The charges against them include cheating and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.