The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot on Monday. This arrest has taken place in the ICICI Bank loan fraud case. Earlier on Friday, the agency had arrested former CEO and MD of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar. After this, both of them were sent to custody for 3 days (24 to 26 December) by the Special Court of Mumbai.
It is alleged that when Chanda Kochhar took charge of ICICI Bank, one of the largest private banks in the country, some loans were sanctioned to various Videocon companies by flouting the norms. These include a loan of Rs 3250 crore given in 2012.
At least two loans were sanctioned by committees in which Chanda Kochhar was a member. Later some of these loans were declared NPAs, causing losses to the bank. However, it is not completely clear yet how much loss has been incurred by ICICI Bank.
The lawyer had asked why Dhoot was not arrested.
Chanda Kochhar’s lawyer told the court on Saturday that Chanda was not a director or stakeholder in any company to which loans were given. This statement was acceptable to ED and ED did not arrest him. But the CBI was not satisfied with this statement and the arrest was made. The lawyer had said that the beneficiary of these loans is VN Dhoot. He questioned, ‘If the CBI feels that a fraud took place then why only Kochhar was arrested and not the beneficiary.’
The investigation of the case started in 2016
The probe into the matter began in 2016 after Arvind Gupta, an investor in both the firms, Videocon Group and ICICI Bank, raised concerns about loan irregularities. Gupta wrote about this to the RBI and even the Prime Minister, but his complaint went unnoticed at that time. In March 2018, another whistle-blower complained.
FIR on 24 January 2019
After the complaint was made against the top management, the attention of many agencies went towards this. However, in the same month, the bank issued a statement saying that it had full faith in Chanda Kochhar. The statement was made after an investigation into Chanda’s alleged role in passing off the loan to Videocon Group. The agencies continued with their investigation and after increasing pressure on the bank, it also started the investigation. After this CBI registered FIR on 24 January 2019.
Name of 4 companies including Chanda, Deepak, Dhoot
CBI registers Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar, and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon Group as well as Npower Renewables, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd, and Videocon Industries Ltd under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating, and corruption in loan fraud case The accused was made in the FIR.
ED had arrested in 2020
In January 2020, the Enforcement Directorate attached assets worth more than Rs 78 crore of the Kochhar family. Following this, the agency arrested Deepak Kochhar under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after several rounds of questioning.