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CBI issues Look Out Circulars (LOC) against Chanda Kochhar along with Venugopal Dhoot

CBI filed an FIR for alleged corruption in six loans worth ₹1,875 crore given to Videocon group during 2009-11. Enforcement Directorate(ED) wants to investigate the assets of Chanda Kochhar

CBI issues Look Out Circulars (LOC) against Chanda Kochhar along with Venugopal Dhoot

Look Out Circulars (LOC) have been issued by The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against former ICICI Chief Executive Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Managing Director Venugopal Dhoot. 

An FIR was registered last month for alleged corruption in six loans worth ₹1,875 crore given to Videocon group during 2009-11. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is extending the probe into possible forex rules violations. This is the first time a LOC has been issued against Chanda Kochhar. 

LOCs must be filed after the FIR and are mandatory in cases where such economic offences are alleged. However, ED, investigating agency for illegal foreign exchange transactions wants to investigate assets the couple built and possessed, which includes their South Mumbai apartment. 

According to an ED official, the Income Tax Officers have made a lot of headway in their probe which includes sending requests under the Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) and the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to a few foreign jurisdictions where the money has been suspiciously routed. Since their case concerns money laundering, the income tax findings is mandatory. 

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The officials stated that the Kochhars had floated several companies to route the money and these companies had close transactions with various Videocon Group companies. Last month, the Srikrishna committee that was tasked to investigate the quid pro quo transactions submitted its report, saying Chanda Kochhar violated the bank’s code of conduct.

This led the country’s second-largest bank to treat Kochhar’s exit as ‘termination for cause’ under bank internal policies.

A few days before her expulsion, the CBI filed an FIR naming Kochhar and others in the alleged quid pro quo for extending an ₹3,250-crore loan to Videocon. Kochhar was on the bank’s credit committee that sanctioned the loan to Videocon in 2012.

Promoter Dhoot was one of the first investors in NuPower Renewables, promoted by Deepak Kochhar, Chanda’s husband, in 2008 Whereas, the inquiry report concluded that she failed to discharge her fiduciary functions to avoid any conflict of interest.

The FIR alleged that Kochhar had illegal gratification through her husband and Dhoot for sanctioning a term loan of ₹300 crore to Videocon International Electronics and her influence in disbursal decisions in relevant committees of the bank was also brought under the scanner.

The loan to Videocon International Electronics was disbursed on September 7, 2009, and the next day, an entity linked to Dhoot transferred ₹64 crore to NuPower Renewables, managed by Deepak Kochhar. Notably, this was the first major capital received by NRL to acquire its first power plant, the FIR had said.

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