Friday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar for allegedly defrauding ICICI Bank of Rs 1,730 crore between March 2011 and March 2012.
According to sources, the couple was summoned to Delhi for questioning and arrested after the investigating officer discovered they were not working with the investigation team.
The Deccan Era first reported on March 29, 2018 that Venugopal Dhoot-promoted Videocon Group provided crores of rupees to a firm he co-founded with Deepak Kochhar and two relatives six months after the Videocon Group received a Rs 3,250 crore loan from ICICI Bank in 2012. ICICI Bank and Chanda Kochhar have been under regulatory scrutiny ever since.
The CBI filed a FIR in 2019 against the Kochhars, Dhoot, and other companies, including Nupower Renewables and Videocon Industries. In its FIR, the CBI named as defendants Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd, Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL), and unidentified public officers. It was alleged that Chanda Kochhar sanctioned certain loans to private entities as part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud ICICI Bank. The case was brought under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
According to the CBI, the sanctioned loan amount was a portion of the Rs 40,000 crore credit that Videocon Group got from a consortium of 20 banks led by SBI. Nearly 86% of the Rs 3,250 billion debt (Rs 2,810 billion) remained outstanding. In 2017, the Videocon account was classified as an NPA (non-performing asset).
According to the CBI, the sanctioning committee of ICICI Bank, which included Chanda Kochhar, sanctioned a Rs 300 crore loan to Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) on August 26, 2009 “in violation of the rules and policies.”
The CBI stated that Kochhar “dishonestly” exploited her official position to issue this money, as the very next day, her husband’s company obtained Rs 64 crore from Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL) to acquire its first power plant. “…Chanda Kochhar received illicit gratification/undue benefit through her husband from M/s VIL/VN Dhoot for approving Rs 300 crore rupee term loan to M/s VIEL,” the CBI said in its FIR.
In its FIR, the CBI alleged that rupee-term loans granted to five Videocon Group entities between June 2009 and October 2011 “violated the bank’s credit policy.”
The five companies are Millenium Appliances India Ltd (175 crore rupees), Sky Appliances Ltd (240 crore rupees), Techno Electronics Ltd (110 crore rupees), Applicomp India Ltd (300 crore rupees), and Videocon Industries Ltd (300 crore rupees) (Rs 750 crore). “The purpose of the loans granted to M/s SAL, M/s TEL, and M/s AIL was to enable them to repay the unsecured loans obtained from M/s VIL. In addition, M/s. VIL was granted a loan to refinance its current debt. According to the CBI FIR, these loans were granted in breach of the bank’s credit policy within the relevant time frame.
After Kochhar became MD and CEO of ICICI Bank in May 2009, according to the CBI, all credit limits for Videocon Group companies were approved. The agency also stated that Kochhar was a member of the committee that sanctioned at least two loans of Rs 300 crore and Rs 750 crore to VIEL and VIL, respectively.