New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate is conducting searches at the residence of Chanda Kochhar, former chief executive and managing director of ICICI Bank; the office of Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd, run by her husband Deepak Kochhar, as well as at the home of Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot in Aurangabad, in connection with its probe into the alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning of Rs 1,875-crore loans by the bank to the corporate group.
The ED had registered a criminal case of money laundering against the Kochhars and Dhoot on February 2 after taking cognisance of a CBI complaint filed on the matter in January. The officials said the agency would probe if alleged kickbacks generated in the loan deal were laundered to create tainted assets.
The CBI had named Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar, and Dhoot and his companies -- Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and Videocon Industries Limited (VIL). It also named Supreme Energy, a company founded by Dhoot, and Nupower Renewables, a company controlled by Deepak Kochhar, in the FIR.
It is alleged that Dhoot had invested in Deepak Kochhar's company Nupower through his firm Supreme Energy a quid pro quo to loans cleared by ICICI Bank after Chanda Kochhar took over as the CEO of the bank on May 1, 2009.
The ownership of Nupower and Supreme Energy changed hands through a complex web of shared transactions between Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot, the CBI alleged.
During its preliminary enquiry, the CBI found that six loans worth Rs 1,875 crore were sanctioned to the Videocon Group and companies associated with it between June, 2009 and October, 2011 in alleged violation of laid-down policies of ICICI Bank, which have now become part of the probe.
"Existing outstanding in the accounts of these private group companies were adjusted in Rupee Term Loan of Rs 1,730 crore sanctioned by ICICI Bank under refinance of domestic debt under consortium arrangement on April 26, 2012," a CBI spokesperson had said.
An independent enquiry initiated by ICICI Bank had indicted its former CEO Chanda Kochhar of violation of bank's code of conduct. Justice (Retd) BN Srikrishna had concluded that there was lack of diligence with respect to annual disclosures and violation of code of conduct on her part.
The bank had also decided to stop all unpaid retirement benefits and also recover bonuses paid to her since 2009.