The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday filed a case against Videocon Industries Ltd chairman Venugopal Dhoot for allegedly defrauding banks while acquiring energy assets in Mozambique, an official of the investigative agency said.
The first information report, or FIR, is for causing wrongful losses to a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India. In the FIR, CBI alleged irregularities by Videocon Industries in the acquisition of oil and gas assets in Mozambique that were later taken over by the SBI-led consortium. The case is based on a preliminary inquiry against officials of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, and officials of the consortium of banks (SBI, ICICI Bank and IDBI Bank).
According to the complaint, unnamed officials of the banks allegedly colluded with promoters and directors of Videocon Mozambique (a unit of Videocon Industries) to cause pecuniary gains to the firm.
Mint could not reach Dhoot immediately for a comment.
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, the FIR said.
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 consortium and wrongful gains to Videocon during the intervening nine months.
In February 2013, the outstanding dues to Standard Chartered rose to $530 million from $400 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," CBI said in the FIR.
In November 2013, Videocon 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, the FIR said.
The preliminary enquiry was initiated in 2019, based in the documents seized from the premises of Dhoot in connection with the ICICI Bank quid-pro-quo case.