Chanda Kochhar gets bail; can't leave country without court's permission
Former Managing Director and CEO of the ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar was granted bail in a money laundering case by a Mumbai court on Friday. However, Kochhar has been restrained from leaving the country without the permission of the court. The case pertains to alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in the grant of loans amounting to Rs. 1,875 crore by ICICI Bank.
A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai on Friday granted bail to Kochhar. After her appearance before special court judge AA Nandgoankar, Kochhar's lawyer Vijay Agarwal filed her bail application. The court granted her bail on a bond of Rs. 5 lakh. She also cannot leave the country without the permission of the court.
Early last year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed a criminal case against Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar, and Venugopal Dhoot of the Videocon Group under the PMLA in connection with alleged irregularities with six high-value loans worth Rs. 1,875 crore granted by ICICI Bank to Videocon. Deepak Kochhar was arrested in connection with the same case in September last year.
The ED is also probing at least two other instances of loans granted by the ICICI Bank during Kochhar's tenure: to Gujarat-based pharmaceutical firm Sterling Biotech and to Bhushan Steel Group. These two loans are also being probed for alleged money laundering.
The ED's case is based on a complaint filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The CBI is running a separate investigation into the case, naming all three individuals, and adding three companies. The companies include two under the Videocon name, owned by Dhoot's companies. Dhoot allegedly invested in NuPower through Supreme Energy in a quid pro quo via loans cleared by ICICI under Kochhar's tenure.