ED questions Avista Advisory CEO Rajiv Kochhar in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned Avista Advisory group CEO Rajiv Kochhar, brother-in-law of ICICI Bank's former chief Chanda Kochhar, for the second day on Monday, in connection with the ICICI-Videocon loan case.

The ED had issued summons to Rajiv Kochhar and asked for personal appearance on April 30, which he had advanced. "His (Rajiv) questioning and statement will continue for three-four days," an ED official said.  

The case was registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in February.

Meanwhile, Chanda Kochhar and husband Deepak Kocchar have sought an extension of 10 days from the ED for making a personal appearance. The ED has accepted the request and called the couple on May 11, said the official. Earlier, Deepak and Chanda Kochhar were summoned on April 30 and May 3.

An email sent to Rajiv Kochhar remained unanswered.

Singapore-based Avista, which specialises in debt recast, acted as an adviser for several borrowers of ICICI, including Videocon, especially with regard to foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs). The enforcement agency is examining several documents of Avista and its other subsidiaries overseas since 1995.

Rajiv Kochhar has been asked to provide details such as a list of companies/trusts that he had incorporated along with brother Deepak Kochhar or directorships in other companies since 1995. He has also been asked to submit a list of movable and immovable assets both in India and abroad along with copies of balance sheets, profit and loss accounts and tax audits etc of their companies.

The controversy has gained spotlight after the probe agency received a Singapore-based whistle-blower's letter on the Kochhar brothers.

The ED is investigating the case, following the Central Bureau of Investigation's first information report against the Kochhar family, Videocon Industries, Videocon Group head Venugopal Dhoot and others for sanctioning certain loans to private firms. The Income-Tax department is conducting a parallel investigation in the case. I-T officials earlier questioned Deepak Kochhar in connection with the case.

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