Home >Companies >News >CBI books Videocon Chairman for causing losses to banks in Mozambique assets

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday booked Venugopal Dhoot, Chairman of Videocon Industries Ltd on charges of alleged corruption in financing acquisition of assets in Mozambique in Africa, said an official of CBI.

The FIR is for causing wrongful losses to a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI). In the FIR the investigative alleged irregularities by Videocon Industries Ltd in the acquisition of oil and gas assets in Mozambique in Africa that were later taken over by the State Bank of India-led consortium. The case is based on a preliminary inquiry against officials of ministry of petroleum and natural gas, officials of the consortium of banks (SBI, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank).

Allegedly the company, unnamed officials of bank consortium colluded with promoters and directors of Videocon Mozambique (a subsidiary of Videocon) to cause pecuniary gains to the company.

Mint could not reach Venugopal Dhoot immediately for a comment.

As per the FIR reviewed by Mint, in the preliminary enquiry the agency found the three banks SBI, IDBI and ICICI paid $705.45 million to Standard Chartered Bank, London as part of sales proceeds instead of $650 million, which Dhoot owed to Standard Chartered.

Despite the banks paying this amount in February 2013, they did not take charge of the assets till November 2013, which caused a huge loss to the bank and wrongful gains to Videocon during the intervening nine months.

In February 2013 the outstanding dues to Standard Chartered had increased from $400 million to $ 530 million. Videocon requested the consortium of banks to pay off the outstanding and take charge of the oil and gas assets in Mozambique. This was paid by the consortium in February 2013 but the charge on the assets was not created and Videocon continued to avail loan facility from Standard Chartered, CBI said in the FIR.

"The SBI led consortium never took charge of the Mozambique assets and the charge for Indonesia and Brazil assets were taken only in November 2013," said CBI in the FIR.

In November 2013 Videocon had further requested SBI to pay the outstanding dues to Standard Chartered.

"The SBI led consortium in conspiracy with Videocon did not raise any objection to the fact that the outstanding of Standard Chartered, London has already been paid by the consortium in February 2013," said CBI.

The CBI enquiry further revealed that funds availed from Standard Chartered Bank were either siphoned-off to other accounts of Videocon, its promoters or used for other than the stated purpose, said CBI in the FIR.

The preliminary enquiry was initiated in 2019, based in the documents seized from the premises belonging to Dhoot in connection with the ICICI Bank quid-pro-quo case.

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