Kochhar effect: Other top ICICI officials to face flak?

Chennai: The Central Bureau of Investigation’s probe into the ICICI-Videocon loan controversy could go well beyond just former boss Chanda Kochhar as the agency notes that former and current officials of the bank were also involved in the matter.

On Thursday the CBI filed a proper case, naming Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group boss Venugopal Dhoot, nearly a year after it registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) into the matter.

According to the agency’s FIR, the role that ICICI’s current CEO Sandeep Bakshi and top former officials like non-executive chairman K V Kamath and executive director Sonjoy Chatterjee, played on committees that sanctioned loans to the Videocon Group could also be investigated.

“These loans amounting to Rs 1,575 crore were sanctioned on various dates by various committees having senior officials of ICICI Bank as members namely Sandeep Bakshi, K Ramkumar, Sonjoy Chatterjee, N S Kannan, Zarin Daruwala, Rajiv Sabharwal, K V Kamath and Homi Khusrokhan,” the FIR says.

The issue revolves around the fact whether ICICI Bank sanctioned loans worth Rs 3,250 crore to the Videocon Group in 2012 because Dhoot had business dealings with Deepak Kochhar. It came out in 2016 by a whistleblower’s complaint.

It was alleged that loans were given to Videocon because Dhoot made an investment of Rs 64 crore in Nupower Renewables, a company run by Deepak Kochhar, through another firm called Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd.

Supreme Energy, which was owned by Dhoot, was then transferred to a trust managed by Deepak Kochhar in a circuitous manner between 2010 and 2013.

The CBI’s FIR, notes that between June 2009 and October 2011, ICICI sanctioned six high-value loans to various Videocon Group companies.

The first loan of Rs 300 crore was sanctioned to Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL), which was in ‘contravention of the rules and policy by the sanctioning committee.’ This loan was given to VIEL on 7 September, 2009.

On the very next day (8 September, 2009), the CBI points out, Dhoot transferred Rs 64 crore to Nupower Renewables from Videocon Industries through his company Supreme Energy.

NT Bureau