Chairman and Managing Director of Videocon Industries Venugopal Dhoot has denied any connection with Supreme Energy-- the company in the midst of a
controversy relating to ICICI Bank, its CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband and CEO of NuPower Deepak Kochhar.
In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, Dhoot said that Videocon Group has not given the alleged Rs 64 crore to NuPower Energy.
Edited transcript of the interview:
Shereen Bhan: What was the reason for the Rs 64 crore transaction between you and NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd which was a company of Deepak Kochhar. Can you explain to us that particular transaction?
Dhoot: Videocon Industries Limited or Videocon Group has not given any Rs 64 crore to whatever company you called.
Latha Venkatesh: You owned a large stake in Supreme Energy and that company subscribed to convertible debentures worth Rs 64 crore of NuPower. Why did you all make that debenture investment? What was that in exchange for?
Dhoot: It is wrong information. I had invested some Rs 50,000 and that is not a huge amount. I don't have any connection with Supreme Energy. Whatever share I had in Supreme Energy, I sold them.
Latha: When did you sell? Because it looks like you sold it after the alleged transaction. The report says that you sold the shares of Supreme Energy in November of 2010 but the subscription to the Rs 64 crore debentures was in March of 2010.
Dhoot: I am telling you that I sold these shares before what this said investment has been made by Supreme Energy.
Latha: You are saying that you sold the shares in Supreme Energy before Supreme Energy subscribed to the convertible debentures?
Dhoot: Yes, what Supreme Energy did later, I don't know. I am not involved with Supreme Energy.
Shereen: Can you clarify for us when did your involvement with Supreme Energy end?
Dhoot: I don’t remember the date. I am not involved with Supreme Energy and I have not invested any money in Supreme Energy.
Latha: An Indian Express report says that you sold the stake after the investment in the debentures were made but you say that is incorrect.
Dhoot: That is all wrong information. I am too modest to say that Indian Express is wrong but these type of things should not be done. They need to check all these things.
Shereen: Has any investigative agency has reached out to you asking for clarifications? Have you been issued a show-cause notice with respect to your dealings with the NuPower, with respect to the transaction between you and Deepak Kochhar since 2016?
A: I swear and tell you that no agency has ever made any inquiry with me about this matter which you are talking about.
Shereen: Has the Reserve Bank of India raised any questions?
Dhoot: I am telling you that no questions were asked because I am not involved in this transaction.
Shereen: Can you explain to us why you chose to invest in Deepak Kochhar's company to start with? Was there a joint venture or were you merely an investor in his company. Secondly, why did you choose to exit within a matter of a month or so?
Dhoot: At that time we were investing in various renewable energy companies. In Deepak Kochhar’s company too I had invested a few thousand rupees but I thought I have done too much and now I don't want to go ahead, so I sold my shares. I don't have any investment in Deepak Kochhar's company today.
Latha: Just to reiterate, you say that when you owned Supreme Energy, at that time the company had not made any convertible debenture investment in NuPower?
Dhoot: I reiterate that when my investment was there (In Supreme Energy), at that time Rs 64 crore investment was not made by any Videocon company (In NuPower).
Shereen: We are reading out allegations that have been made by Dr Arvind Gupta to the Prime Minister and to other investigative agencies. We are asking you the questions because the allegations have been made publicly since 2016.Dhoot: I understand there are thousands of questions and letters received by various government agencies every day; it must be one of that. I do not understand why he has written and where he has taken all these information from.