ICICI loans to Videocon: RBI finds no 'quid pro quo'
(Sourced from PTI)
The Reserve Bank of India had two years back conducted a detailed scrutiny to probe allegations of impropriety in ICICI Bank extending loans to Videocon Group but found no proof of any "quid pro quo" or reciprocal benefits, according to RBI documents. The central bank had undertaken a scrutiny in mid-2016 after the Prime Minister's Office referred to it allegations about ICICI Bank.
The allegations were of CEO Chanda Kochhar's husband, Deepak, reaping windfall gains from his association with businessman Venugopal Dhoot, whose Videocon Group is a large debtor to ICICI.
The RBI, in its first response, sometime in mid-July of 2016, stated that ICICI Bank had sanctioned a loan of Rs. 1,730 crore to the Videocon Group in 2012. It was sanctioned as part of a debt consolidation program undertaken through a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India, according to the documents and sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
RBI stated it was difficult to establish any conflict of interest in the sanctioning of the loan but flagged that it wasn't able to determine the sources of funding in some of the transactions involving Deepak Kochhar's renewable energy venture NuPower. The source was critical for ascertaining the legitimacy of NuPower transactions, RBI said, adding it was for investigative agencies to ascertain that.
In December 2016, RBI responded to allegations of "quid pro quo" in loan sanctioned to the Videocon Group in 2007-08 and 2012, saying ICICI Bank was a part of the debt recast program of Rs. 20,195 crore by a consortium of banks led by SBI, where ICICI Bank's share was Rs. 1,750 crore. RBI stated that "quid pro quo" could not be established.
RBI said the transfer of ownership of NuPower Renewables Ltd, which Deepak established with Dhoot family in Dec'08, by Videocon was an unrelated event outside the banking domain that can be examined by SEBI or MCA. RBI left it to Finance Ministry's Department of Financial Services to investigate if there was a non-disclosure of related party transaction or FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) violations.