Former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar were produced before the Mumbai special court by the CBI on Saturday, December 24 in a case related to alleged irregularities in an over Rs 3,000 crore loan provided to Venugopal Dhoot’s Videocon Group. The couple was arrested on Friday. The loan fraud case made headlines in 2019 and came as a shock to the public. The 59-year-old Chanda Kochhar received the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours, in 2011. She was also featured in ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ list by Forbes International for seven consecutive years and also named among TIME magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the world in 2015.
Chanda Kochhar, husband Deepak Kochhar under scanner over Videocon loans
The couple came under the scanner after Deepak Kochhar’s NuPower Renewables received Rs 64 crore funding from one of Venugopal Dhoot’s companies through unsecured fully convertible debentures (FCDs), weeks after the Videocon group got a Rs 3,250 crore loan from ICICI Bank. During 2009-11, in the tenure of Chanda Kochhar at ICICI Bank, it is alleged that six loans worth Rs 1,875 crore were sanctioned for the Videocon Group and its associated companies. The Enforcement Directorate in 2019 registered a criminal case of money laundering against the Kochhar couple, Dhoot, and others.
According to media reports, Venugopal 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 an indirect route and most of these loans, which were given in the tenure of Chanda Kochhar became non-performing assets, causing a loss of Rs 1,730 crore to the bank.
Chanda Kochhar-headed committee cleared Videocon loans
CBI alleged that the loan was cleared by a committee of which Kochhar was a member. The investigation agency said that she abused her official position and “got illegal gratification/undue benefit through her husband from Dhoot for sanctioning loans to Videocon.” Refuting the allegations Chanda Kochhar had said in a statement “I reiterate that none of the credit decisions at the bank is unilateral… the organisation design and structure obviate the possibility of conflict of interest.”
Chanda Kochhar joined ICICI Bank in 1984 and became its Managing Director (MD) and CEO in 2009. She resigned from the position in 2018. Following the resignation announcement, shares of the country’s one of largest private lenders rose nearly 6% to Rs 320 on October 4, 2018. The shares of ICICI Bank on January 28, 2019, made another big move, falling 4% to a seven-week low of Rs 341.65 after CBI registered a case against Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot. Its shares closed 1.26% lower at Rs 879.20 on Friday, December 23, 2022.