Whistleblower Arvind Gupta, who exposed ICICI Bank's dirty loan to Videocon, is a triumphant man today as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed an FIR against former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochchar.
Calling the whole saga a "deep-rooted malaise" Gupta has said he hoped the case would now have the logical conclusion.
Two big names have already emerged and it is clear that she alone could not have executed such a big thing. There are several people involved and it is a deep-rooted malaise
"I am happy that there is action and also optimistic that there is action and also optimistic that this will reach its logical conclusion. Two big names have already emerged and it is clear that she alone could not have executed such a big thing. There are several people involved and it is a deep-rooted malaise," he told the Mirror.
Apart from the Kochhars, the CBI has also framed charges against Videocon Group head Venugopal Dhoot for criminal conspiracy and fraud.
Gupta calls himself a 'stakeholder-activist. He unearthed the multi-crore scam at ICICI Bank by carefully analysing publicly available records over the years. He started following the transactions at NuPower Renewables in 2010.
Gupta calls himself a 'stakeholder-activist'. He believes that if the guilty are punished in the ICICI loan fraud, that will go a long way in cleaning up the dirty corporate stables in India.
Gupta has said he diligently peruses financial documents corporate submit to regulatory bodies for whiffs of fraudulent activities.
The alleged loan fraud at ICICI Bank tumbled in the open after Gupta revealed in 2016 that the Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon was a clear case of conflict of interest.
He had said that the funding of a company called NuPower jointly by Dhoot and Deepak Kochhar pointed to the possibility of there being a quid pro quo behind the sanction of loans.
Tip of the iceberg
The CBI, which launched an investigation into the complaint in March last year, has found that the firm controlled by Kchchar's husband was paid Rs 64 crore by Videocon's Dhoot.
Kochchar had fought tooth and nail against the allegations but her efforts to shrug off the taint and stay at the helm of India's largest private sector lender failed last year. She resigned as CEO and MD eventually in October.
Gupta now says that the Chanda Kochhar expose is only a tip of the iceberg. "The situation is the same in all the banks. I feel all the corrupt bankers will now think 10 times before doing something wrong," he said, according to the Hindustan Times.
The 56-year-old former CEO now stands accused of criminal conspiracy, cheating and abuse of official position for dishonestly sanctioning loans to the Videocon Group. A clutch of other current and former senior executives of ICICI bank including MD Sandeep Bakhshi and high profile former chairman KV Kamath are being probed by CBI.
"The bad condition of banking today is because of favouritism and corruption. Not only Chanda Kochhar, but there are also many people in the organisation who should be looked into. I cannot give a clean chit to independent directors, the board of director and even the chairman. The entire ICICI team from top to bottom needs to be investigated," Gupta told HT.
Gupta has said he had made a habit of keenly studying documents submitted by financial companies to the Registrar of Companies. He unearthed the multi-crore scam at ICICI Bank by carefully analysing publicly available records over the years,. He says he did this in his capacity as a shareholder and stakeholder.
Gupta blew the whistle on the Videocon dirty loan in 2016 but his examinations went back to 2010 when he started following the transactions at NuPower Renewables, the company promoted by Deepak Kochhar.
Since he was also an investor in Videocon, he couldn't but notice a series of transactions that raised suspicion, he told BloombergQuint.
His suspicions hardened when he noticed a Rs 64 crore unsecured loan that NuPower Renewables got from an entity related to Dhoot in 2009-10.