ICICI-Videocon scam: Chanda Kochhar, husband Deepak Kochhar released from jail
Former ICICI Bank CEO and MD, Chanda Kochhar, and her husband, Deepak Kochhar, were released from jail on Tuesday after the Bombay High Court granted them bail on Monday. The court held their arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a loan fraud case was illegal. Kochhar was lodged in Mumbai's Byculla women's prison while her husband was in Arthur Road Jail.
Why does this story matter?
- This came as a big relief for Kochhar, who is accused of illegally sanctioning loans for Videocon Group since she took charge as ICICI Bank's MD-CEO in 2009.
- Videocon borrowed nearly Rs. 40,000 crore from a consortium of 20 banks, including ICICI Bank.
- The loans taken by Videocon turned into non-performing assets (NPAs) for the bank but allegedly benefited Kochhar and her family.
Couple still faces judicial custody
The couple still faces judicial custody following nearly a week of CBI remand after being arrested on December 25. They sought interim relief on the grounds that their son's wedding was scheduled for this month. Kochhar's lawyers Rohan Dakshini and Kushal Mor said that the CBI arrest was arbitrary and illegal. The court rebuked the CBI for the "casual and mechanical" arrest.
Visuals from outside the jail
No woman police officer was present during Kochhar's arrest
Kochhar's counsels argued in court that the CBI arrested her without compliance with Section 46(4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which necessitates the presence of a woman police official for arresting women. Kochhar's arrest memo didn't contain the name of any woman police officer. On this, the CBI said that it was a white-collar crime and they weren't handcuffed or touched.
Kochhar's refusal to cooperate would've jeopardized probe: CBI's counsel
The Kochhars were released on Rs. 1 lakh cash bail each and were asked to cooperate with the CBI. Senior advocate Raja Thakare, representing the CBI, stated the Kochhars' refusal to cooperate would have undoubtedly jeopardized the investigation, and hence their arrest was necessary. He also noted that instead of an HC plea, the accused could have submitted an application for regular bail.