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Chanda Kochhar Fails to Get Relief from the Court in ICICI-Videocon Loan Case

Bombay High Court Refuses to Grant Urgent Hearing of Plea Seeking Quashing of FIR Filed by CBI

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to grant an urgent hearing of the petition filed by former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar, challenging their arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a multi-crore ICICI-Videocon loan case.

Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot are in CBI Custody in Mumbai in connection with a case of cheating and irregularities in a loan of Rs 3,250 crores granted in 2012 to the Videocon Group by the ICICI, which became a non-performing asset for bank. 

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The Kochhar couple was arrested on December 23 by CBI in New Delhi and produced before a Special CBI Court in Mumbai on December 25. Dhoot was arrested in Mumbai on December 27 and produced before the court.

On Tuesday, the petition was mentioned before a vacation bench comprising Justices Madhav Jamdar and SG Chapalgaonkar. But the bench refused to grant an urgent hearing, stating that a petition seeking quashing of a remand order and FIR did not have any pressing urgency. It asked Advocate Kushal Mor, who appeared for the Kochhars, to approach the regular court for bail. 

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Advocate Mor contended that the arrest of Kochhar was illegal on two grounds: First, the CBI had not obtained proper sanction, which is mandatory under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 for arresting a public servant. Second, the arrest had been carried out four years after the registration of the FIR, violating Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.

Mor requested the court to urgently hear the matter for quashing the remand order and release Kochhars until the petition is finally heard. The bench, however, refused to hear the plea.

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The bench asked Mor to approach the regular benches once High Court reopens after the winter break ( January 2, 2023). 

The CBI had named the Kochhars and Dhoot, along with companies M/S Nupower Renewables Limited (NRL), managed by Deepak Kochhar, M/S Supreme Energy Private Limited (SEPL), Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Limited, managed by Dhoot, as accused in the FIR registered on January 24, 2019, under Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 

Per the CBI, there was a quid pro between ICICI and Videocon in the loans sanctioned, which benefitted the M/S Nupower Renewables Limited (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar.

The credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore sanctioned by ICICI to the companies of Videocon Group violated the Banking Regulation Act, RBI guidelines and the bank’s credit policy.

Timeline

October 2016: The RBI investigates the loan irregularities at ICICI Bank but doesn’t find any irregularity. 

March 2018:  A whistleblower complains against the bank, alleging a delay in recognising issues in 31 loan accounts. The CBI internally questions Deepak Kochhar. 

April 2018: The ICICI Bank board supports Chanda Kochhar. The CBI’s Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFO) seeks the approval of the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs to probe the Videocon loan case. 

May/ June 2018: The whistleblower makes fresh allegations against Chanda Kochhar. ICICI Bank launches an independent probe led by retired judge B N Srikrishna. Kochhar proceeds on indefinite leave. 

July 2018: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) asks Kochhar to submit her reply to the show-cause notice issued by it. 

October 2018: Chanda Kochhar submits her resignation and steps down as the MD and CEO of ICICI Bank after the board approves her request for early retirement. 

January 2019:  On January 22, 2019, the CBI filed an FIR against Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot. A probe by ICICI Bank also finds that Chanda Kochhar violated the bank’s code of conduct while sanctioning these loans. The board treats her stepping away from the bank as “termination for cause”.

January 27, 2019: Sudhanshu Dhar Mishra, Superintendent of Police (SP) of the Banking and Securities Fraud Cell of CBI, Delhi, who had signed FIR against Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot in connection with the ICICI-Videocon case is transferred to CBI’s Economic Offences Branch in Ranchi, Jharkhand.

February 2019: The CBI issues a lookout notice against Chanda Kochhar.

January 2020: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) attaches assets worth Rs 78 crore to the Kochhar family. 

September 2020: The ED arrests Deepak Kochhar in the money-laundering case. 

November 2020: The ED files a charge sheet against Chanda Kochhar. 

March 2021: Deepak Kochhar is released on a personal bond of Rs 3 lakh. 

May 2022: The CBI files an FIR against Chanda Kochhar. 

December 23, 2022: The CBI arrests Chanda Kochhar and her husband, Deepak Kochhar. 

December 26: The CBI arrests Venugopal Dhoot.

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to grant an urgent hearing of the petition filed by former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar and her husband, Deepak Kochhar, challenging their arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a multi-crore ICICI-Videocon loan case.

Also Read: Land for Job Scam: Tejashwi Yadav’s Private Secretary Summoned by CBI

Author

  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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