CBI preliminary enquiry against Deepak Kochhar, Videocon's Dhoot: Reports

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar's husband Deepak Kochhar in connection with Videocon loan row, sources said on Saturday.

Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar, and Venugopal Dhoot, the promoter of Videocon Group are caught up in a controversy over ICICI allegedly granting loan worth Rs 32.50 billion to Videocon, of which the unpaid Rs 28.10 billion were declared NPA in 2017.

The role of Deepak Kochhar in the case dates back to December 2008, when he set up a joint venture with Dhoot, NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL) with 50-50 shares owned by both and their associates.

In 2009, Dhoot resigned as NRPL director and transferred around 25,000 shares of his to Deepak Kochhar, and a year later his company Supreme Energy Private Limited allegedly gave loan of Rs 640 mllion to Deepak Kochhar's NRPL.

In what followed a timeline of share transfer between the two, Dhoot's Supreme Energy took over majority of the shares of NRPL which he transferred to his associate Mahesh Chandra Punglia.

Punglia in turn transferred his entire stake in Supreme Energy to Deepak Kochhar's Pinnacle Energy for only Rs 900,000, just six months after the Videocon Group got a loan of Rs 32.50 billion from ICICI Bank.

This has raised a question of conflict of interest, on part of Chanda Kochhar.

Soon after the reports came, the RBI imposed monetary penalty worth Rs 589 billion  on ICICI, for failing to abide by rules on the sale of bonds in the held-to-maturity (HTM) category.

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