ED assures SC of no coercive action against former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar in PMLA case

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New Delhi, Nov 20 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday assured the Supreme Court that it would not take any coercive action against former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar in a money laundering case.

A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the agency would not take any coercive step in pursuance of the enforcement case information report (ECIR) registered in the ICICI Bank-Videocon Group loan case. ECIR is equivalent to a police FIR.

'Although there is a sword hanging on your head, there is no hurry as such,' said the bench, also having Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy.

In the hearing conducted through video conferencing, the former ICICI Bank CEO was represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and lawyer Vijay Aggarwal.

The top court was hearing three separate pleas filed by Kochhar.

One plea sought quashing of the money laundering case against Kochhar on various grounds including that the probe was 'violative of the procedures established by law'.

'The petitioner is invoking the writ jurisdiction of this court while impugning the investigation proceedings in the ECIR...which have been commenced and continued against her under the PMLA without following the procedure established by law. Whereas Deepak Kochhar, the husband of the petitioner, has already been arrested in these investigations, the petitioner has also been summoned and apprehends the arrest,” the plea said.

The bench adjourned the hearing on two separate petitions filed by Chanda Kochhar against the arrest of her husband Depak Kochhar in the money laundering case and challenging her termination from the services as the CEO of ICICI Bank respectively.

Rohatgi said Deepak Kochhar's regular bail plea is coming up for hearing before a trial court on Monday.

He urged the bench to make an observation to ensure that hearing on the bail plea of Deepak Kochhar before the special judge does not get affected on account of the pendency of plea in the top court.

The bench said that the pendency of the bail application before the Supreme Court would not come in the way of the trial court in deciding the application for regular bail.

The ED has recently filed a charge sheet against Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot on money laundering charges.

The Kochhars, Dhoot and others have denied the allegations, sources had said earlier.

They had said the charge sheet or the prosecution complaint has been filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before a special court in Mumbai.

The central probe agency had arrested Deepak Kochhar in September after it filed a criminal case of money laundering after studying an FIR registered by the CBI against the Kochhars, Dhoot and others.

It has 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'. PTI SJK ABA MNL SMN SMN