The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is planning to recover from ICICI Bank former chief Chanda Kochhar and family nearly Rs 400-crore kickbacks it thinks emanated from the Rs 3,200 crore Videocon loan scam, media reports say. This follows the reported finding that the money that the bank sanctioned was allegedly routed to the firms of Deepak Kochhar, the husband of Chanda Kochhar.
Investigators have unearthed evidence that Deepak Kochhar's NuPower Renewables received at least Rs 380 crores from Venugopal Dhoot's Videocon Group and Nishant Kanodia's First Holdings when Chanda Kochhar was heading the ICICI Bank, according to sources. The Economic Times reports that the ED is probing at least two instances of quid pro quo.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), meanwhile, has sought more documents from ICICI Bank connected to Rs 1,875-crore loans given to the Videocon Group during the tenure of Chanda Kochhar, officials told a news agency.
The officials refused to give details about the nature of documents as the agency was at a crucial stage of determining points on which it may call Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak and Dhoot, all named as suspects in the CBI FIR, for questioning. The CBI has not issued a notice to any of the accused in the FIR for questioning so far, the sources said.
The CBI, which has taken flak for the flight abroad of several high-profile economic offences fugitives, has issued a lookout circular against the Kochhars and Dhoot to prevent them from leaving the country and is keeping a track of their movements, they said. A lookout notice is an intimation to immigration authorities at all the ports of exit to alert the investigation agency in case the subjects of the notice try to exit the country.
Chanda Kochhar was on the sanctioning committees deciding on two loans – Rs 300 crore to Videocon International Electronics on August 26, 2009, and Rs 750 crore to Videocon Industries Limited on October 31, 2011, the FIR has alleged.
According to the complaint, the loans were issued in alleged violation of policies laid down and the bank regulations. Most of these loans became non-performing assets over the course, causing a loss of Rs 1,730 crore to the bank, it alleged.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which has drawn criticism for an increase in banks' non-performing assets over the past several years, has said the law will take its course in this case.
The opposition led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi has targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government for alleged protection of economic offenders. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called the investigative agencies decision to file FIR against Chanda Kochhar as 'investigative adventurism' and 'megalomania'.