ICICI-Videocon Scam: Supreme Court To Hear In January ED’s Plea Against Bombay HC’s Order Granting Bail To Deepak Kochhar
The Supreme Court heard the Enforcement Directorate’s appeal against the Bombay High Court’s ruling granted bail to Deepak Kochhar, husband of ex-ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, an accused in the multi-crore ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case, on Friday.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Enforcement Directorate, asked the Bench to issue a notice in the matter and link it with the batch of pleas challenging the constitutionality of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
“This is against standard bail, and I am aware of the restrictions. My request is for notice and tagging. The matter be labelled as a PMLA affair in which the topic of Section 45 of the PMLA Act is being considered, “SG said.
The CJI-led Bench, on the other hand, decided to hear the case.
“We’ll set a day, debate before us, and we’ll make a decision,” CJI Ramana stated.
“That is totally up your Lordships’ decision,” SG responded, “but this very matter is being taken up.”
We have the right to be heard as well. Post before we do. “I will post in January,” CJI stated.
Kochhar claimed that on November 6, 2020, an Appellate Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act exonerated him when it denied the ED’s request to confirm the seizure of their assets.
The ED alleged these were criminal proceeds. Kochhar, on the other hand, argued that, despite the fact that 11 people have been charged (including some of the firms), only Deepak Kochhar has been arrested.
On January 30, a Special Judge under the PML Act took cognizance of the ED’s investigation complaint against all of the defendants in the case and summoned them for the charges under Section 4 (money laundering) of the PMLA.
The Special Court found that Chanda Kochhar had used her official position to issue loans to the accused Videocon group of firms and had accepted unlawful gratification through her husband Deepak Kochhar. Kochhar appeared in front of a special court in February and requested bail. The court granted her application on the condition that she provide a monetary surety of Rs 5 lakh. VN Dhoot received a similar order.
The ED’s investigation is based on a case filed by the CBI in January 2019 investigating suspected irregularities in the provision of six high-value loans totaling Rs 1575 crore to five Videocon Group entities between June 2009 and October 2011. The loans were made in violation of the sanctioning committee’s regulations and policies, according to the ED.
According to the ED’s charge, these loans were eventually classified as non-performing assets, resulting in wrongful loss to ICICI Bank and unlawful gain to the borrowers and accused persons, with a total theft of Rs.1,730 crore as of April 26, 2012.
According to the ED’s inquiry, on September 9, 2009, when the first loan amount of Rs.300 crores was disbursed to Videocon, V.N. Dhoot transferred an amount of Rs.64 crores to NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL), which is handled by Kochhar’s husband, Deepak, through his business SEPL.
According to the agency, NRPL was founded on December 24, 2008, with Deepak Kochhar, V.N. Dhoot, and Saurabh Dhoot as its inaugural directors. Before resigning from the company a year later, Dhoot granted Deepak Kochhar 19,97,500 warrants at a rate of Rs.10/- per warrant, with an initial payment of Rs.1/- each warrant.
Following that, on June 6, 2009, Dhoot and Kochhar’s NRPL shares were transferred to SEPL, which became NRPL’s 95 percent shareholder. SEPL was another firm founded in 2008 with Dhoot as a director; however, a year later, he sold his shares to Pinnacle Energy (PE), which is run by Deepak Kochhar.
Kochhar joined the bank in 1984 and climbed to the position of MD & CEO in 2009. According to the complaint, despite knowing that Deepak Kochhar is intimately acquainted with Dhoot, Chairman and Managing Director of Videocon Industries Ltd., Kochhar did not disclose this fact or recuse herself from the ICICI bank’s sanctioning committee when it sanctioned the loan to Videocon. Kochhar’s flat in CCI, Mumbai, is said to have been purchased using proceeds of crime for about Rs. 11 lakh, despite the fact that the property was worth Rs. 5 crores.
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