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Videocon case: Chanda, Deepak Kochhar sent to 3 day CBI custody — 'they didn't cooperate, so we arrested them'

india | Dec 24, 2022 2:57 PM IST

Videocon case: Chanda, Deepak Kochhar sent to 3-day CBI custody — 'they didn't cooperate, so we arrested them'

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The Chanda and Deepak Kochhar were arrested on Friday in a money laundering case involving the bank and the Videocon Group.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was granted three-day custody of former MD and CEO of ICICI bank Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar in connection with the Videocon loan case. The Kochhars were arrested on Friday in a money laundering case involving the bank and the Videocon Group.

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The two appeared before a special CBI court on Saturday. During the hearing, the CBI said it arrested Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar because they were not cooperating with the agency.
"We had given both accused (Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar) section 41 CrPC notice, but they didn't cooperate, so we arrested them," the public prosecutor, appearing on behalf of the CBI, said.
The lawyers appearing on behalf of the Kochhars called the arrests "illegal" and said, "No approval was taken by the CBI from a competent authority to arrest Chanda Kochhar under section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption act."
What CBI said in court?
The public prosecutor informed the court that the CBI wants three-day custody of the Kochhars and wants to add IPC section 409 of criminal breach of trust.
It is alleged that when Chanda Kochhar took charge of ICICI bank, six loans were sanctioned to various companies of Videocon. At least two loans were sanctioned by committees where Chanda Kochhar was a member. "She influenced other committees also to sanction loans to Videocon group," the lawyers said.
"In 2009, Rs 64 crore loan was given by Videocon group to Nupower (Deepak Kochhar's firm). A Mumbai flat where Chanda Kochhar was residing was transferred to the family trust of Deepak Kochhar," he said, adding that the value of "this flat was Rs 5.25 crore in 1996 and in 2016, the flat was transferred in Rs 11 lakh".
The prosecutor noted that a loss of Rs 1,730 crore was caused to ICICI bank. However, the Kochhars' lawyer maintained that "the loans were repaid. ICICI bank didn't suffer any loss".
What the Kochhars argued in court?
During the hearing, the counsel, Advocate Amit Desai, appearing for Kochhars called the arrest "illegal" and said, "The CBI has failed in making an arrest in compliance with the law. Non-cooperation is not a ground for arrest."
He said: "From January 2019 till now, the couple was available, but there wasn't any question of their arrest. So, why the couple wasn't called for investigation for all these years." He added, "Till July 2022, the CBI didn't even need them for investigation, and now the CBI is seeking custodial interrogation."
The CBI said the Rs 64 crore loan was a genuine transaction and was contemplated much before the loans were granted to Videocon.
"In July, Chanda Kochhar was told that the CBI will send her an email with further questions. No such email was sent and now, directly, they are arrested. Where is the non-cooperation here," the lawyer asked.
The lawyer said Chanda Kochhar "wasn't a director or a stakeholder in any of the companies which received any loans".
"Chanda Kochhar, like ED, informed the CBI also that she wasn't a director or a stakeholder in any of the companies which received any loans. This statement was acceptable to the ED and the ED didn't arrest her. But the CBI is not satisfied with this statement and the arrest is made," the defence counsel said in the court.
The lawyers noted that the beneficiary of these loans (VN Dhoot) is not arrested by both the CBI or the ED in all these years. "If the CBI believes that there's a fraud, why the Kochhars are arrested but not the beneficiary," he asked.
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