New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday turned up the heat on former ICICI Bank CEO and managing director Chanda Kochhar, attaching moveable and immovable assets belonging to her and her husband, Deepak Kochhar.
With the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) accusing Kochhar of money laundering, receiving illegal gratification, cheating and criminal conspiracy when she was at the helm of affairs at the private bank, the spotlight has increasingly been on financial crimes involving top executives of banks.
The ED has now provisionally attached a flat, land, cash, plant and machinery of Windfarm Projects located in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, worth ₹ 78.15 crore, which were “in possession of accused Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and the companies owned and controlled by Deepak Kochhar, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, (PMLA) in the ICICI Bank loan case", the probe agency said on Friday.
“ED had initiated the investigation under the PMLA, on the basis of an FIR registered by the CBI, for alleged illegal sanctioning of loans amounting to ₹1,875 crore to Videocon group of companies. Investigations revealed that loans were refinanced and new loans aggregating to ₹1,730 crore was sanctioned to M/s Videocon Industries Ltd, and its group companies. These loans became non-performing assets (NPA) for ICICI Bank on 30.06.2017," the ED said in a statement.
The probe agency added that further investigations revealed that ₹64 crore, out of the loan of ₹300 crore sanctioned by a committee headed by Chanda Kochhar to Videocon International Electronics Ltd, was transferred to Nupower Renewables Pvt. Ltd.
“Investigation also revealed that Chanda Kochhar and her family acquired the apartment at Mumbai, owned by one of the Videocon group companies, by way of acquiring that company through her family trust at a nominal price by creating book entries," the agency added.
While Kochhar was quizzed several times by the ED last year, the agency also questioned her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group managing director Venugopal Dhoot as part of the investigations in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case.
Last March, the ED carried out searches at the residence of Kochhar.
In January 2019, the CBI also booked Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot for criminal conspiracy and cheating.
The CBI had started a preliminary inquiry against Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot in March 2018 to investigate irregularities in the ₹40,000-crore loan made by a consortium of lenders to the Videocon group. It pointed to an alleged conflict of interest in a ₹3,250-crore loan made to the Videocon group by ICICI Bank.