Videocon-ICICI loan case: CBI questions bank officials

From left: Deepak Kochhar, Chanda Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot

The CBI has questioned few ICICI bank officials as part of a preliminary enquiry to find if any quid pro quo was involved in the bank issuing a Rs 32.5 billion loan to the Videocon Group in 2012.

Agency officials said they are also studying relevant documents of the transaction and if they come across any evidence that indicates wrongdoing, ICICI bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar along with others could be summoned for detailed questioning.

They said the statements of nodal officers of the ICICI, who were part of processing the loan of about Rs 32.5 billion, have been recorded as part of the PE registered six weeks back.

The PE has named Videocon group promoter Venugopal Dhoot, Deepak Kochhar and unknown others, they said.

A PE is a precursor before the agency lodges an FIR to probe criminal charges on the basis of evidence collected during the former exercise.

The deal recently made news after reports questioned the loan and linked it to a possible quid pro quo that Dhoot allegedly had with NuPower Renewables, a company founded by Deepak Kochchar.

Earlier this week, the ICICI Bank board came out in support of Chanda Kochhar, saying it has full faith and confidence in her and described certain reports against her regarding credit disbursement to Videocon group as "malicious and unfounded rumours".

The board had also reviewed the banks internal processes for credit approval and found them robust, the private sector lender had said in a statement.

With regard to loans to the Videocon group, it said the banks current exposure is part of a syndicated consortium arrangement.

"ICICI Bank was not the lead bank for this consortium and the bank only sanctioned its share of facilities aggregating approximately Rs 32.5 billion which was less than 10 per cent of the total consortium facility in April 2012," it added.

The bank had clarified that none of the investors of NuPower Renewables are borrowers of ICICI Bank.


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