Videocon loan case: ED likely to attach Chanda Kochhar's property, assets

Chanda Kochhar, former ICICI Bank MD and CEO
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is likely to make a provisional attachment of assets and properties belonging to former ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive officer Chanda Kochhar and husband, Deepak Kochhar, in connection with the Videocon loan case.

The assets may include her plush South Mumbai apartment, besides certain shares, investments and offices of Deepak Kochhar’s companies including Nupower Renewables.    

The investment value of these assets is estimated at around Rs 100 crore. But, their market value could be much higher at around Rs 800 crore, said a source in the enforcement agency.

This will be the first big action in the case filed last January, accusing Chanda Kochhar and eight others for ICICI Bank’s irregularities in sanctioning loans to the Videocon group.

A text message sent to Chanda Kochhar went unanswered.

According to sources, the federal agency will issue a provisional attachment order of proceeds of crime under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the end of this week. Legally speaking, this order will be valid for 180 days until a court confirms it and allows it to make a final confiscation on the grounds that the assets were created out of the proceeds of money laundering.

The acquisition of the current family residence of Kochhar at 45, CCI Chambers CHS Limited (Churchgate area opposite the Cricket Club of India), has been under the probe agency’s lens due to its complex transaction involving Deepak Kochhar and firms linked to Videocon group.

This complex transaction was also highlighted by the ICICI Bank-appointed panel headed by former Supreme Court Judge BN Srikrishna.

According to Srikrishana panel, this South Mumbai residence was owned by an entity QTAPL of the Videocon group between 2009 and 2016. During this period, no rent was paid and no consideration was given for such residence, the panel had said.

Further, the apartment seems to have been transferred in 2009 to the Videocon group presumably to satisfy a liability of Deepak Kochhar or his business Credential Finance (CFL), owed to Videocon group. It was subsequently re-acquired by Deepak Kochhar (indirectly by the family Trust acquiring 100 per cent of QTAPL which owned the house) for nominal consideration.

The said transactions—rent-free residence at the apartment and the transfer of the apartment for nominal consideration—were in arrangement with a borrower group (Videocon) of the ICICI Bank for inadequate or no consideration, the panel pointed out. It also said that Chanda Kochhar’s claim of no knowledge about the dealings was not true.

With respect to the apartment, not only was her husband transacting with the Videocon group, but her brother’s wife Neelam Advani was the signatory authority to a board resolution of CFL authorising transfer of the apartment, according to the findings. Deepak Kochhar was a director on an entity owned by the Videocon group (QTAPL) till 2014. And Chanda’s disclosures of such directorship were inadequate for the financial years 2010-11 to 2012-2013.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel