‘Money laundering’ case: ED attaches assets worth Rs 78 crore belonging to Chanda Kochhar, others

Deeptiman Tiwary
Chanda Kochhar, Chanda Kocchar ICICI bank, Chanda Kochhar case, Chanda Kochhar money laundering case, India news, Indian Express

Along with the couple, the ED is also investigating Videocon Group promoter VN Dhoot over loans — which later turned NPAs — disbursed to it by the private bank.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached assets worth over Rs 78 crore belonging to former ICICI Bank CMD Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak and companies associated with him. The attachments have been made in connection with ED’s money laundering probe into loans disbursed by the bank to Videocon Group for alleged pecuniary considerations.

The assets include residential flats, land, cash and plant and machinery in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra “totalling to Rs 78.15 crore in possession of accused Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and the companies owned/controlled by Deepak Kochhar”.

Along with the couple, the ED is also investigating Videocon Group promoter VN Dhoot over loans — which later turned NPAs — disbursed to it by the private bank. Videocon Group had allegedly made investments into companies held by Deepak Kochhar after disbursal of loans cleared by ICICI Bank.

The ED probe has revealed that loans were refinanced and new loan aggregating to Rs 1,730 crore was sanctioned to M/s Videocon Industries Limited (VIL) and its group firms. These loans turned non-performing assets (NPAs) for ICICI Bank on June 30, 2017.

“Investigation further revealed that amount of Rs 64 crore, out of the loan of Rs 300 crore sanctioned by a committee headed by Chanda Kochhar to M/s Videocon International Electronics Limited, was transferred to M/s Nupower Renewables Pvt. Ltd. (NRPL, earlier known as M/s NuPower Renewables Limited, a company of Deepak Kochhar) by VIL on 08.09.2009, just one day after disbursement of loan by ICICI Bank. Further, net revenue of Rs 10.65 crore was generated by NRPL from these tainted funds. Therefore, proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 74.65 crore were transferred to/generated in NRPL,” an ED statement said Friday. The ED claimed its probe had also revealed that Chanda Kochhar and her family acquired an apartment in Mumbai owned by one of the Videocon Group firms, by way of acquiring that company through her family trust at a nominal price by creating book entries.

“Accordingly, assets amounting to Rs 74.54 crore held in the name of M/s Nupower Renewables Pvt. Ltd and its subsidiaries; flat located at Mumbai (book value of Rs 3.5 crore; and amount of Rs 10.5 lakh already seized by ED from company of Deepak Kochhar, totalling to Rs 78.15 crore being proceeds of crime have been provisionally attached by ED under PMLA,” it added.

The agency had registered an enforcement case information report in the matter based on a CBI FIR of January 22 last. In its FIR, the CBI alleged that Chanda Kochhar had “dishonestly” granted loans to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees to Videocon Group “in contravention of rules and policy ... by abusing her official position”.