The Bombay High Court ordered the release of ICICI Bank’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar.
It said that their arrest in the ICICI bank fraud case was “illegal” .
A Division Bench of justices Revati Mohitedere and PK Chavan held the arrest was not in accordance with Section 41A (notice of appearance before police officer) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The bench ordered Ms Kochhar’s release from Byculla jail and Mr Kochhar’s release from Arthur Road Jail on a cash bond of ₹1 lakh.
They couple was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on December 23, 2022, and Videocon group promoter Venugopal Dhoot was arrested on December 26, 2022. He is also in Arthur Road Jail.
Also Read | What is the Videocon-Chanda Kochhar case all about?
The court was hearing a petition filed by Ms. Kochhar and her husband seeking immediate release and for quashing the First Information Report (FIR) against them.
The CBI has alleged that ICICI bank under the leadership of Ms. Kochhar sanctioned a credit of ₹3,250 crore to companies owned by the Videocon Group which are in direct violation to The Banking Regulation Act, guidelines by the Reserve Bank of India and the credit policies of banks.
The CBI registered a FIR in January 2019 that charged Ms. Kochhar with cheating and criminal conspiracy and for causing loss to ICICI Bank by sanctioning loans to Videocon Group of companies in contravention of the rules and policies of the ICICI Bank during the relevant period. These loans given to Videocon Group of companies have turned into Non-Performing Assets (NPA) and thus resulted in wrongful loss to ICICI Bank and wrongful gain to the borrowers and accused persons.
As per central agency, “From June-2009 to October-2011, ICICI Bank had sanctioned six high value loans to various Videocon Group companies. On August 26, 2009, Rupee Term Loan (RTL) of ₹300 Crore was sanctioned to Videocon International Electronics Limited (VIEL) in contravention of the rules and policy by the sanctioning committee. Ms. Kochhar was one of the members of the sanctioning committee, who in criminal conspiracy to cheat ICICI Bank and in pursuance of criminal conspiracy on the same day dishonestly by abusing her official position sanctioned loans.