Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot was on Friday granted interim bail by the Bombay High Court in the ICICI loan fraud case, reported ANI. A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and P K Chavan granted bail to Dhoot on a surety of Rs 1 lakh.
He was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from Mumbai on December 26 last year, nearly three days after former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar were taken into custody by the probe agency.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in the sanction of a Rs 3,250 crore loan disbursed by ICICI Bank to the Videocon Group.
The 71-year-old businessman had approached the Bombay High Court on January 10 claiming that his arrest was “illegal” and ‘ex facie’ arbitrary, reported The Indian Express. Earlier, on January 5, a special CBI court had rejected Dhoot’s plea challenging his arrest as illegal. He had sought direction to quash and set aside the CBI FIR.
He has also said that his arrest was in gross violation of Section 41 and 41A of CrPC and Articles 14, 19 (1) (d) and 21 of the Constitution, adding that he was a senior citizen who was suffering from several serious ailments.
His bail plea had also claimed that the CBI had arrested him despite cooperating with the probe and responding to notices, which was in violation of Supreme Court guidelines, adding that there was no intention to abscond or evade arrest or even obstruct the probe by the central agency.
The CBI has alleged that private sector lender ICICI Bank had sanctioned credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore to the companies of Videocon Group promoted by Dhoot in violation of the Banking Regulation Act, Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines, and credit policy of the bank, reported PTI.
The CBI had named Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar as well as Dhoot along with Nupower Renewables (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Ltd as accused in the FIR registered in 2019 under Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
It further alleged that as a part of quid pro quo, Dhoot made an investment of Rs 64 crore in Nupower Renewables through Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL), and transferred SEPL to Pinnacle Energy Trust managed by Deepak Kochhar through a circuitous route between 2010 and 2012.