In a massive setback to former ICICI Bank CEO and managing director, Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday provisionally attached her South Mumbai plush apartment and shares of her husband. Top agency sources confirmed to Republic TV that the book value of the shares stands at Rs 78 crores and market value Rs 600 crore. This is in connection with the Videocon loan case.
Two probe agencies – the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) -- accused Kochhar of alleged money laundering, receiving illegal gratification, cheating and criminal conspiracy when she was at the helm of affairs at the bank. The provisional attachment order of proceeds of crime under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act was issued on Thursday.
The agency has already questioned and recorded the statements of Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar over multiple sessions. The agency has also recorded the statements of directors of other companies which are part of ED’s investigation. Chanda Kochhar had been grilled for over 10 times in connection with the Videocon-ICICI bank loan case.
Chanda Kochhar maintains that her husband's business dealing had nothing to do with loans given by ICICI Bank to some major corporate houses. Sources within the agency maintain that they are probing over dozen such loans which were granted when Chanda Kochhar was heading the bank.
In January 2019, CBI registered a case under Prevention of Corruption Act and thereafter ED filed a case under the money laundering Act. Chanda Kochhar was appointed as CEO of ICICI Bank in May 2009. Allegations are that corrupt practices were followed in sanctioning six loans of Rs 1,875 crores by ICICI Bank between June 2009 - October 2011. This was part of Rs 400 billion credit that was given by a consortium of 20 banks including ICICI. CBI filed a case against Chanda Kochhar and eight others alleging irregularities at ICICI Bank in sanctioning of loans to the Videocon group. There were allegations of involvement of Kochhar and her family members in a loan provided to Videocon group on a quid pro quo basis. It was alleged that Videocon Group pumped money into NuPower Renewables, a firm owned by Deepak Kochhar. The allegation of conflict of interest was levelled by whistleblower Arvind Gupta.