Money laundering case: Deepak Kochhar in ED custody till September 19

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Updated: September 08, 2020 5:37 PM

"So it is not a case of custodial interrogation," the lawyer said. The judge, after hearing both thesides and perusal of remand papers, observed that the custodial interrogation Deepak Kocchar was "necessary".

Deepak Kochhar was arrested under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

A Mumbai court on Tuesday remanded Deepak Kochhar, husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda, in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate till September 19 in a money laundering case. Deepak Kochhar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here on Monday under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case probe. Officials had said he was placed under arrest as the agency wants to put him under custodial interrogation to obtain more details about some fresh evidence gathered in this case, that was filed under the criminal sections of the anti-money laundering law in January last year.

The probing agency produced Deepak Kochhar before the court of special PMLA judge Milind V Kurtadikar, who remanded him in the custody of ED till September 19. The ED, while pressing for his remand, told the court that the investigation has revealed that on September 7, 2009, the ICICI bank sanctioned a loan worth Rs 300 crore to Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL). Deepak Kocchar’s wife Chanda Kochhar was the chairman of the bank’ssanctioningcommittee when this loan was given VIEL. The probe further revealed that just a day after the loan was sanctioned, Rs 64 crore out of it was transferred from VIEL toNupower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL),the ED said. NRPL was earlier known as NuPower Renewables Limited (NRL) and is a company of Deepak Kochhar.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the court that Deepak Kochhar was not cooperating in the investigation and his custodial interrogation was required as there are crucial aspect of funds received by his company and money trail which need to be probed. Opposing his remand, Deepak Kochhar’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal submitted that his client has joined the investigation about 12 times and also submitted all documents.

“So it is not a case of custodial interrogation,” the lawyer said. The judge, after hearing both thesides and perusal of remand papers, observed that the custodial interrogation Deepak Kocchar was “necessary”. It is an economic offence which requires a certain different type of probe, so considering overall arguments, the accused is remanded in the ED’s custody, the court said. The ED had filed its case after studying an FIR registered by the CBI against Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhhar, Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot and others. It slapped money laundering charges against the Kochhars and their business entities for “illegal sanctioning of loans amounting to Rs 1,875 crore to the Videocon Group of companies”.

The agency had alleged that a “net revenue of Rs 10.65 crore was generated by NRL from these tainted funds”. “Therefore, proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 74.65 crore were transferred to or to say generated in NRPL,” the ED had claimed. Earlier this year, the ED also attached assets –including a Mumbai flat where the couple lived, land, and plant and machinery of a wind farm project based in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra — valued at Rs 78 crore “in possession of” Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and the companies owned and controlled by him. It had said Chanda Kochhar and her family “acquired” the Mumbai apartment, owned by one of the Videocon Group companies, by way of “acquiring that company through her family trust at a nominal price and by creating book entries”.

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