March 24, 2023


Chanda Kochhar, husband Deepak granted relief in Videocon loan fraud case

3 min read

The Bombay High Court Monday granted bail to former ICICI Bank CEO and managing director Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar in the Videocon loan fraud case.

The Kochhars argued in their pleas that their arrest by CBI in connection with a case related to alleged irregularities in loans provided to Venugopal Dhoot-led Videocon Group was ‘illegal.’

The court granted interim release on bail to Kochhars pending hearing of their writ petition.

‘Accordingly the petitioners’ arrest not in accordance with law and not in compliance with Section 41 A of the Criminal Procedure Code,’ a division bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere and Justice Prithviraj K Chavan said.

While CBI opposed release on cash bail, the bench rejected it.

A division bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere and Justice Prithviraj K Chavan on Friday had reserved its order on the plea by the two seeking interim release from custody

The Kochhars were arrested on December 23, 2022, and Dhoot three days later in connection with the Videocon loan case.

Chanda Kochhar was lodged in Byculla women’s jail, while Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot were lodged in the Arthur Road jail.

On December 29, a special court sent the Kochhars and Dhoot to judicial custody till January 10.

The CBI did not seek their further custody for interrogation at the time.

The CBI lodged an FIR in 2019, as ICICI Bank and Chanda have been on the regulator’s watch since 2018, over allegations that Dhoot provided crores of rupees to a firm he had set up with Deepak and two relatives, six months after his company got a INR 3250-crore loan from ICICI Bank in 2012.

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Representation for the Kochhars’ lawyer argued the arrest was carried out after four years and was in violation of Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which mandates the investigating officer to issue a notice of appearance before arrest.

Senior advocate Amit Desai, representing Chanda Kochhar, said she has cooperated with the CBI probe throughout and no inquiry took place for over three years until the first half of 2022, according to a report in the Indian Express.

Desai added while the prosecution had made a statement in a money-laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which was conducting a parallel in-depth probe, they did not require her custody.

To that effect, Kochhar da had been ‘arbitrarily’ arrested in the CBI case, they added, saying ‘We have this agency (ED), which it is said nowadays that the citizens are fearful of, did not think they needed to arrest the petitioner, CBI felt the need to do so,’ he added.

In response, senior advocate Raja Thakare for the CBI submitted that Kochhars were remanded for eight days and no further remand was sought by the agency. He also said that the accused, who are in judicial custody, could have filed an application seeking regular bail instead of the plea in the high court.

The high court noted that the only reason mentioned by the CBI was that the petitioners had not co-operated and had not given true and correct disclosure and the ‘same cannot be a ground for arrest’

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