ICICI bank fraud case: CBI arrests Videocon Chairman Venugopal Dhoot
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday arrested the chairperson of Videocon Group, Venugopal Dhoot, in the multicrore money laundering case involving the conglomerate and ICICI Bank, ANI reported. Former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband, Deepak Kochhar, were also arrested by the CBI last week. The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the loan that Videocon got from ICICI Bank.
Why does this story matter?
- Despite the country's strict banking regulations, there are always some who manage to circumvent such laws. Similar efforts were allegedly made by Videocon and the Kochhars.
- Kochhar reportedly began authorizing loans for Videocon left and right soon after she assumed control as ICICI Bank's MD-CEO in 2009.
- Along with the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is also investigating the case.
What does the CBI FIR say?
The CBI named the Kochhars, Dhoot, NuPower Renewables managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics, and Videocon Industries in its 2019 FIR. It was registered under IPC sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy and the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI claimed ICICI Bank sanctioned Rs. 3,250cr-worth credit facilities to Videocon Group companies, violating its credit policy, RBI rules, and Banking Regulation Act.
Illegal dealings between Kochhars and Videocon?
The CBI is also looking into the alleged favors that Dhoot returned to the Kochhars in exchange for the loan, per reports. The FIR claims that between 2010-12, Dhoot invested Rs. 64 crore in NuPower Renewables, which is run by Deepak, through Supreme Energy Private Limited (SEPL). Later, he also reportedly transferred SEPL to Pinnacle Energy Trust, which is also controlled by Deepak.
ED's case based on CBI's complaint
The ED is also separately investigating the matter based on the CBI's FIR. The agency arrested Deepak in 2020 after filing a criminal case of money laundering against him. As part of its probe, the ED found that loans sanctioned by ICICI Bank under Kochhar's tenure were kept active through refinancing to the tune of Rs. 1,730cr, which subsequently became bad loans in 2017.