ED arrests former ICICI CEO's husband over money laundering
The Enforcement Directorate on Monday arrested Deepak Kochhar, the husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar. Kochhar has been arrested over charges of money laundering in a deal between the bank and Videocon Group. The ED had filed a case against the Kochhars early last year in connection with irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning loans to Videocon Group.
Mr. Kochhar was being questioned by the ED at their Delhi office since noon on Monday. He was arrested at night. Sources told India Today that Mr. Kochhar was unable to explain some transactions during questioning, following which, the probing agency decided to place him under arrest. The agency had gathered concrete evidence against Mr. Kochhar, the report stated.
The Kochhars are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED based on an FIR filed by the former. The ED is investigating 24 loans amounting to Rs. 7,862 crore, that it believes were sanctioned "illegally and criminally" by the ICICI Bank to the Videocon Group during Ms. Kochhar's tenure between 2009 and 2018.
According to ED's investigation report—accessed by Hindustan Times—some of the loans involved were as high as Rs. 2,870 crore, sanctioned on April 26, 2012, to Videocon Industries Limited. Most recently, the bank loaned Rs. 166.4 crore to VIL on June 28, 2017. Other loans include Rs. 881.4 crore loan to VIL in 2011, Rs. 180 crore to Videocon Hydrocarbons Holdings Ltd in 2014, etc.
It has been alleged by the two central probing agencies that Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon invested Rs. 64 crore in Mr. Kochhar's company, NuPower Renewables, in 2009 as a quid pro quo for the bank's loans.
After a whistleblower complaint exposed the scandal, Ms. Kochhar stepped down as ICICI Bank's CEO in October 2018. In January 2019, the bank retrospectively sacked Ms. Kochhar after an internal probe found her in violation of the bank's code of conduct. She has defended her actions in the past saying the loans were granted on merit and were not linked to her husband's business.