Deepak Kochhar was arrested since he remained evasive: Enforcement Directorate

Published: 10 September, 2020 16:30 IST | IANS | Mumbai

Deepak was arrested on Monday by the ED sleuths after several hours of questioning at its Mumbai office under the sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act

Deepak Kochhar. Picture/Ashish Raje
Deepak Kochhar. Picture/Ashish Raje

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) which arrested Deepak Kochhar, husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, over allegations that he had received Rs 64 crore for his company from the Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL), said that he remained evasive on the questions of "money trail" in connection with a money laundering case involving loan to the tune of Rs 1,730 crore to Videocon group and Venugopal Dhoot.

Deepak was arrested on Monday by the ED sleuths after several hours of questioning at its Mumbai office under the sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

He was produced before a Special PMLA court on Tuesday, which sent him to 11 days ED custody till September 19.

According to senior ED officials related to the probe, on September 7, 2009, ICICI Bank snactioned a loan to the tune of Rs 300 crore to VIEL, in which Chanda was the Chairman of the sanctioning committee.

The official said, "On September 8, 2009, just one day after disbursement of the loan by ICICI Bank, VIEL transfered Rs 64 crore to NRL managed, owned and controlled by Deepak."

Further, net revenue of Rs 10.65 crore were generated by NRL from these tainted funds. Therefore, proceeds of the crime amounting to Rs 74.65 crore were transferred to or generated in NRPL.

NuPower Renewables Ltd (NRL), which is now known as Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd, is Deepak's company. Deepak is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of NuPower Renewables which was set up in December 2008.

NuPower Renewables was started as a joint venture between Videocon Group's Venugopal Dhoot family and the Kochhar and Advani families.

Mahesh Advani is the brother of Chanda Kochhar. When the company was established, Chanda Kochhar was the CFO and Joint MD at ICICI Bank. Before the setting up of NuPower, Deepak was a financial services entrepreneur. He has been a Director of NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd since December 24, 2008.

The ED official said that Deepak, who had earlier joined the financial probe agency questioning more than 12 times, was not "cooperating" with the agency officials and thus he was arrested.

"On many questions related to money trail and financial transactions with the VIEL and Dhoot, Deepak remained evasive and non-cooperative, thus we have to arrest him," the official said, adding that there are number of financial transactions and money trail that need to be clarified and it was the reason why the ED demanded for his custodial interrogation.

Earlier, the ED had also recorded the statement of Chanda Kochhar on number of occasions. The official said that Deepak is being quizzed about the role that his wife played in the sanctioning of loan to VIEL and other companies of the Videocon group.

The ED is also quizzing Deepak about whether he spoke to his wife, who was then a senior executive in ICICI Bank in regard to sanctioning of loan and if there was some quid pro quo on the sanctioning of loans involved between him and Videocon group.

The ED action of arresting Deepak comes almost one and half years after the agency filed a money laundering case on the basis of a complaint registered by the CBI Aagainst Dhoot, his companies (VIEL and Videocon Industries Ltd), as well as Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak.

Earlier this year, the ED provisionally attached Rs 78.15 crore worth movable and immovable assets in possession of ICICI Bank's former Managing Director and CEO, her husband and the companies owned/controlled by him.

During investigations, it was revealed that loans were refinanced and new loans aggregating to Rs 1,730 crore sanctioned to Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL) and its group companies and these loans became non-performing assets (NPA) for ICICI Bank on June 30, 2017.

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