Mumbai/ New Delhi:
Businessman Deepak Kochhar, husband of ex-ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, today got bail in an alleged multi-crore money laundering case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. He was arrested last year in September by the central probe agency in the case involving ICICI Bank and the Videocon Group.
In February 2019, the central probe agency – that investigates financial crimes – had filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Chanda Kochhar, her husband and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon Group to investigate alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in the sanctioning of Rs 1,875 crore in loans by ICICI Bank.
About a week after his arrest, Mr Kochhar, 60, had tested positive for coronavirus. The ED officials who had questioned him had isolated themselves as a precaution.
Last month, Chanda Kochhar, 59, was granted bail in the corruption case on a bond of Rs 5 lakh by a Mumbai court. She was told, however, that she won’t be allowed to leave the country without the court’s permission.
Ms Kochhar was sacked in 2019 as the bank’s chief executive and managing director, months after she had stepped down from the posts. Both she and her husband deny all charges against them.
The CBI is also running an independent investigation into the ICICI-Videocon loan case and three more companies, including two under the Videocon name and owned by Mr Dhoot’s companies. The ED’s case was based on the complaint filed by CBI.
The Enforcement Directorate is simultaneously also probing at least two other loans given by ICICI Bank during Ms Kochhar’s tenure – to Gujarat-based pharma firm Sterling Biotech and the Bhushan Steel Group.
The former ICICI Bank CEO faced a setback in December when the Supreme Court rejected her appeal against her sacking as the bank’s chief executive and managing director. “We are not inclined to interfere in impugned order. This falls within the realm of private contract between bank and employer,” the Supreme Court had said.