CBI unearths dark modus operandi in ICICI-Videocon case

The search operation covered offices of Nupower, a company operated by ICICI Bank's former CEO Chanda Kochhar's husband Deepak Kochhar and Supreme Power.

As CBI dug deep into the sensational ICICI Bank-Videocon Group loan case involving two giants of India Inc — Chanda Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot — it came across a dark modus operandi of siphoning of money.

From 2009 to 2012, various companies of Dhoot-headed Videocon Group got credit to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore.

These companies include, Trade Electronics Ltd, Century Appliances Ltd, Kail Ltd, Value Industries Ltd and Evan Fraser and Co India Ltd.

In return, Dhoot made an investment of Rs 64 crore in Nupower Renewables Ltd through Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd and also transferred Supreme to Pinnacle Energy Trust managed by Deepak Kochhar, the husband of Chanda Kochhar, the then MD and CEO of ICICI Bank.

The transfer was done through a circuitous route, according to the apex investigative agency. Between 2009 and 2011, the bank sanctioned six high-value loans to Videocon group companies including ab RTL of Rs 300 crore to Videocon Electronics, when Chanda was  a member of the sanctioning committee on September 7,  2009. The very next day, Rs 64 crore was transferred to Nupower Renewables.

A CBI report, that is in possession of DH, states that it was a clear case of illegal gratification and undue benefit.

It also came to light that Nupower Renewables was incorporated on December 24, 2008 with Deepak Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot and Saurabh Dhoot as the first directors. The Dhoots resigned on January 15, 2009.

Incidentally, Chanda took over as the ICICI Bank boss on May 1, 2009.

Dhoot, before resigning, allotted 19,97,500 warrants to Deepak Kocchar at the rate of Rs 10 per warrant on an initial payment of Rs 1 per warrant.

On May 5, 2009, the shares of Nupower Renewables was transferred to Supreme Energy, which became 95% shareholder of Nupower Renewables. Dhoot resigned from this company and transferred the control to Deepak Kochhar.

Later, several loans were sanctioned to Videocon companies like Millennium Appliances India Ltd, Sky Appliances Ltd, Techno Electronics Ltd, Applicomp India Ltd and Videocon Industries Ltd. Thereafter, a loan was sanctioned to refinance the existing loans.

These loans were sanctioned by committees having senior officials as members like Sandeep Bakshi, K Ramkumar, Sonjoy Chatterjee, NS Kannan, Zarin Daruwala, Rajiv Sabharwal, KV Kamath and Homi Khusrokhan.

The CBI is seeking to investigate the role of some of the sanctioning committee members, too.

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