ICICI-Videocon bank loan fraud: ED questions Kochhars, Venugopal Dhoot

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The Directorate of Compliance (ED) questioned on Saturday the former executive director of the ICICI bank Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and the promoter of Videocon Group Venugopal Dhoot in connection with an ongoing investigation into alleged irregularities and corrupt practices to sanction a loan of Rs 1,875 million from the bank to the corporate group, the agency said.

The agency began the interrogation in the office of the Department of Education in Mumbai after Kochhars and Dhoot were deposed before the investigators after the citation that was given to them.

The ED will record their statements and will face documents the agency has seized, an official said.

The ED action came a day after he carried out simultaneous raids on five offices and residential premises owned by Kochhars and Dhoot under the Money Laundering Prevention Act (PMLA).

The ED initiated the investigation after registering a criminal case under the PMLA in February against Kochhars, Dhoot and others, taking cognizance of a First Information Report (FIR) of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The FIR named Kochhars, Dhoot and its companies – Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Ltd. It also included the names of Supreme Energy, a company founded by Dhoot, and NuPower Renewable, a firm controlled by Deepak Kochhar.

The authorities are trying to determine if any infraction was involved in the sanction of the Rs 1,875 crore loan by ICICI as part of a consortium.

The CBI has alleged that the ownership of the two companies changed hands through a complex network of shared transactions between Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot.

It is alleged that Dhoot invested in NuPower through his firm Supreme Energy, a quid pro quo for loans granted by ICICI after Chanda Kochhar took office as CEO on May 1, 2009.