CBI grills Chanda Kochhar's brother-in-law Rajiv, NuPower directors

Rajiv Kochhar

The CBI on Sunday questioned Rajiv Kochhar, brother-in-law of ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, and two directors of NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd in connection with a case relating to Rs 32.50 billion loan to the Videocon Group in 2012.

Umanath Vainkut Nayak and Mahesh Chandra Pugnalia, a close aide of Videocon Group chief Venugopal Dhoot, are the directors of NuPower, the company formed by Chanda Kochhar's husband Deepak Kocchar and Dhoot in December 2008.

All were questioned at the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) Bandra office.

Rajiv Kochhar was questioned for the fourth consecutive day on Sunday while Pungalia was examined for the second consecutive day in connection with the case.

CBI, however, questioned Nayak first time in the case to probe his role in offering consultancy services if any to Videocon Group being investigated by the CBI.

Pungalia was also asked over the issue as he was previously an employee of Videocon Group and used to offer consultancy services to the firm.

Nayak and Pungalia were confronted during the questioning, said sources in the CBI.

According to the agency officials, the duo was also asked about the role of Rajiv's Singapore-based company Avista Advisory in the restructuring of loan.

They were also asked about the help Pungalia extended to Videocon in securing the loan from the ICICI Bank, which was part of a Rs 400 billion credit given by a consortium of 20 banks, led by the State Bank of India, to the Videocon Group.

The CBI on Thursday and Friday, Saturday, too, questioned Rajiv Kochhar for hours in connection with the case.

He was on Thursday stopped at Mumbai airport by immigration authorities around 11 a.m. when he was about to leave for Singapore. Later, he was handed over to a CBI which is questioning him as part of its preliminary probe against his brother Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot.

The agency had registered a preliminary inquiry against Deepak Kochhar, Videocon Group officials and others to determine any wrongdoing or otherwise in the sanction of loan to the Group by the ICICI Bank as part of the consortium of banks in 2012.

Chanda Kochhar, who is facing questions of conflict of interest in the case, has not been named in the preliminary inquiry, which was registered after news reports raised questions about the Videocon Chairman giving loan of Rs 640 million to a firm he had jointly promoted with Deepak Kochhar, six months after his group got the Rs 32.50 billion loan.

Sources said Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot could also be called for questioning after examination of documents of the loan and statements.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

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