Chanda Kochhar case: Whistleblower says it's just "tip of iceberg"
On Thursday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charged former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar with criminal conspiracy, but the whistleblower has said this is just the tip of the iceberg. The case relates to irregularities in a loan. In the alleged scam, Chanda, her husband Deepak Kochhar, Videocon head Venugopal Dhoot and two others were also named as accused.
Backstory: Chanda, the head of ICICI, sanctioned Dhoot's loans
The case pertains to an alleged Rs. 3,250 crore scam. Dhoot got a loan from ICICI when Chanda was the CEO of the bank. In return, Deepak and other relatives of the Kochhars got several benefits. After the case caught attention in March last year, several agencies including CBI, SEBI, RBI and US' SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) launched separate investigations.
Chanda found 'new ways' to make profit, claims whistleblower
Speaking on the development in the case, whistleblower Arvind Gupta said the agencies need to scratch the surface to reveal more such irregularities in the Indian banking system. He claimed though the companies which were given loans by ICICI went bankrupt, Chanda found 'new ways' to make profits. Gupta said all banks face similar situation and loans should be given on merit basis.
Government should look into foreign funding in Indian companies: Gupta
"As a shareholder, I felt that these are things people must know. So I informed everybody. I would like the government to look into foreign funding in Indian companies because Chanda Kochhar's case is just the tip of the iceberg," Gupta reportedly said.
Earlier, ICICI bank had given clean chit to Chanda
The money given to Dhoot was part of Rs. 40,000 crore loan which Videocon received from a consortium of 20 banks, which was led by the State Bank of India. Notably, when the allegations surfaced, ICICI stood by Chanda saying there was no conflict of interest. But the FIR filed by CBI tears into the bank's claims and highlights she sanctioned the loan.
Chanda got undue benefit through her husband, noted CBI
The investigative agency mentioned Chanda was part of a committee which sanctioned loan to Videocon International Electronics Limited on September 7, 2009. A day later, Dhoot gave Rs. 64 crore to NuPower Renewable Ltd, Deepak's company. "Chanda Kochhar got illegal gratification/undue benefit through her husband from VIL/VN Dhoot," noted CBI. The sanctioned loans violated the bank's credit policy at the time, CBI added.