ED files against Chanda Kochhar in money laundering case!

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a criminal case of money laundering against former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar, Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot and others to investigate alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning of Rs. 1,875 crore loans by the bank to the corporate group, officials said Saturday.

They said the middle probe agency filed an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, taking cognizance of a CBI criticism filed on the matter last month.

An ECIR is the ED’s equal to a police FIR.

The officials said the agency would investigate if alleged kickbacks created in the loan deal were laundered to create tainted assets.

The ED is soon suspected to order the accused named in the ECIR. The list of accused in the ED case is the equivalent as that of the CBI, they said.

The CBI had named Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar, and Dhoot and his companies — Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and Videocon Industries Limited (VIL). It also named Supreme Energy, a corporation founded by Dhoot, and Nupower Renewables, a company regulated by Deepak Kochhar, in the FIR.

The CBI has spanked sections of the Indian Penal Code related to criminal conspiracy, cheating, and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act on all the accused.

It had also carried out raids in the case.

It is alleged that Dhoot had invested in Deepak Kochhar’s corporation Nupower through his firm Supreme Energy a quid pro quo to loans freed by ICICI Bank after Chanda Kochhar took over as the CEO of the bank on 1 May 2009.

The control of Nupower and Supreme Energy changed hands through a complex web of shared transactions linking Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot, the CBI alleged.

During its introductory inquiry, the CBI found that 6 loans worth Rs. 1,875 crore was approved to the Videocon Group and companies associated with it between June 2009 and October 2011 in alleged violation of laid-down policies of ICICI Bank, which have now converted part of the probe.

Existing outstanding in the accounts of these private group companies were adjusted in Rupee Term Loan of Rs. 1,730 crore sanctioned by ICICI Bank under refinance of domestic debt under consortium arrangement on 26 April 2012,” a CBI spokesperson had said.

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