Chanda Kochhar told Videocon’s Dhoot to invest in hubby’s company: ED

MUMBAI: Former head of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar had in 2009 told Videocon group chairman V N Dhoot, whose loan applications had been pending with the bank, to invest money in her husband Deepak’s company, said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in its chargesheet filed recently.
The documents attached to the chargesheet show that in Pacific Capital Service Pvt Ltd (PCSPL), one of the companies belonging to Kochhar, an office boy who served tea was shown as a director and had a stake in the company.
Sharad Mhatre, the office boy, said that he was taking care of Deepak’s father and briefly worked as a driver with the family. He told the ED that he would sign documents on instructions from Deepak without knowing the content.
Dhoot in his statement to the ED said that it would have been detrimental to his interests if he had not agreed to it. Videocon group invested Rs 64 crore ino NuPower Renewable Pvt Ltd (NRPL), a company controlled by Deepak.
The ED alleged that Chanda misused her position in the bank to sanction a loan to Videocon group after violating rules and received kickbacks in the form of investments in her husband’s company, Nu-Power. The ED submitted the chargesheet against Kochhars and Dhoot before a special court on November 4 and annexed these statements to it.
Dhoot told ED that Deepak asked him to invest in his company and insisted that he meet Chanda, who was then heading the ICICI Bank. Officials said that Chanda told Dhoot to “take care of her husband’s interest by putting money in his company”. Dhoot claimed it was because of this that he transferred Rs 64 crore of the Rs 300 crore loan disbursed to his group company by the ICICI Bank.
The ICICI Bank in all had sanctioned Rs 5,393 crore loan to Videocon group companies in different tranches during the tenure of Chanda, of which the principal amount of Rs 2,812 crore turned bad. The collateral kept with the bank was not in proportion to the loan sanctioned, said the ED. The ED alleged that the loan to NuPower was not intended to be returned to Videocon, because a group company, Real Cleantech Pvt Ltd, which was created for holding the proceeds of crime, was allowed a silent death. The company was struck off in 2018, to break the link of returning the NuPower loan money to Videocon group, said ED.
The Videocon group initiated the process to revive Real Cleantech after the ED started to investigate the money laundering case against it in 2019, all to show that money diverted to NuPower was a legitimate investment and returned to the Videocon group.
Deepak has been controlling NuPower since its formation in 2008, through PCSPL, which was formed in 1999. Most directors of PCSPL were Deepak’s relatives or employees.

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