Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday arrested Deepak Kochhar, husband of ICICI Bank former managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) Chanda Kochhar, in connection with ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case.
This is the first arrest since the case was registered in February 2019.
The action follows hours of grilling based on new evidence the agency had come across with regard to a money trail involving Deepak Kochhar’s business entities, including his flagship company NuPower Renewables.
“He has been taken into custody for further interrogation since he was not cooperating with the agency,” said an ED official privy to the case.
Deepak Kochhar will be produced in the Sessions Court or Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act on Tuesday, where the federal agency is likely to seek a five-day remand.
The deadline for filing a prosecution complaint, also known as charge sheet, in the matter ended in August.
With this arrest, the ED will lodge complaint in court within 60 days from September.
In January, the probe agency had provisionally attached the assets of the Kochhars, including their south Mumbai apartment as proceeds of crime.
The authority is yet to confirm the attachement as Kochhars’ reply on the assets is awaited. This was the main reason for the delay in filing a prosecution.
Sources say during the fresh round of questioning, Deepak Kochhar stuck to his guns, stating that the funds received by NuPower from Videocon Industries had no connection whatsoever to the private lender sanctioning loans around the same time.
The probe agency alleged that Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot had invested in NuPower through his firm Supreme Energy in a quid pro quo to loans cleared by ICICI Bank after Chanda Kochhar took over as the bank’s CEO on May 1, 2009.
The ED’s money-laundering case is based on a first information report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the Kochhars, Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot, and others.
The CBI has accused the former bank chief of alleged quid pro quo through her husband from Videocon for sanctioning a term loan.
It also alleged that the ownership of NuPower and Supreme Energy changed hands through a complex web of shared transactions between Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot.
During its preliminary enquiry, the CBI had found six loans worth Rs 1,875 crore were sanctioned to 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.
ED sleuths are probing the proceeds of crime suspected to have been used for creating assets, including properties owned by the Kochhars.
The CBI had said ICICI Bank sanctioned credit facilities of Rs 3,250 crore to several firms belonging to Videocon Group, such as Trend Electronics and Century Appliances, in violation of the Banking Regulation Act, Reserve Bank of India rules, and the bank’s credit policy.