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Chanda Kochhar’s brother-in-law moves court seeking cancellation of look out circular

Rajiv Kochhar, founder of Avista Advisory and brother-in-law of ICICI Bank Managing Director Chanda Kochhar at CBI headquarter at BKC in 2018

Rajiv Kochhar, founder of Avista Advisory and brother-in-law of ICICI Bank Managing Director Chanda Kochhar at CBI headquarter at BKC in 2018   | Photo Credit: Prashant Waydande

Rajiv Kochhar was asked by CBI sleuths about the help he had extended to Videocon in relation to a loan from ICICI Bank, which was part of a ₹ 400-billion credit given by a consortium of 20 banks to the group’s main promoter, Venugopal Dhoot

Former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar’s brother-in-law Rajiv Kochhar moved a Delhi court on Wednesday seeking cancellation of look out circular (LOC) against him in an alleged bank loan fraud and money laundering case registered against them.

The court is likely to hear the application on Thursday.

Chanda, her husband Deepak and Rajiv have been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate, which is probing the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Mr. Rajiv has been questioned by the CBI as well in the same case in the past as well. He is the founder of Singapore-based Avista Advisory.

Mr. Rajiv was asked by CBI sleuths about the help he had extended to Videocon in relation to a loan from ICICI Bank, which was part of a ₹ 400-billion credit given by a consortium of 20 banks to the group’s main promoter, Venugopal Dhoot.

The searches were conducted at the premises of Ms. Chanda, her family and Mr. Dhoot in Mumbai and Aurangabad.

ED registered a criminal case under the PMLA early this year against Chanda, Deepak, Dhoot and others to probe alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning ₹ 1,875-crore loans by ICICI Bank to the corporate group. The action was based on an FIR registered by the CBI.

CBI has named the three as also Dhoot’s companies -- Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and Videocon Industries Limited (VIL) -- in its case.

The anti-corruption probe agency also named Supreme Energy, a company founded by Mr. Dhoot, and NuPower Renewables, a company controlled by Deepak, in the FIR.

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

The CBI alleged that Mr. Dhoot had invested in Nupower through his firm Supreme Energy in a quid pro quo to loans cleared by ICICI Bank after Ms. Chanda took over as the CEO of the bank on May 1, 2009.

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

During its preliminary enquiry, the CBI found that six loans worth ₹ 1,875 crore were sanctioned 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 become part of the probe.

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

The loans were declared non-performing assets in 2012, causing a loss of ₹ 1,730 crore to the bank, it alleged.

The ED, the sources said, is also probing at least two other instances of loans given by ICICI Bank (during Chanda Kochhar’s tenure) to Gujarat-based pharmaceutical firm Sterling Biotech and to Bhushan Steel group.

The agency is investigating these two instances of alleged bank loan fraud under the PMLA.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 5:35:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/chanda-kochhars-brother-in-law-moves-court-seeking-cancellation-of-look-out-circular/article27140933.ece

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