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Law

Videocon-ICICI Bank Loan Case: Bombay HC Declares Arrest of Chanda Kochhar, Husband 'Illegal'

Justice Anuja Prabhudessai and Justice N.R. Borkar on Tuesday, February 6, upheld a previous order by the same court but by a different bench, granting them bail in January 2023.

New Delhi: The Bombay high court has ruled the arrest of Chanda Kochhar, former managing director and chief executive officer, and her husband, Deepak Kochhar, as “illegal” in the connection with Videocon loan case.

Justice Anuja Prabhudessai and Justice N.R. Borkar on Tuesday, February 6, upheld a previous order by the same court but by a different bench. The high court in an interim order passed in January 2023 had granted the duo bail soon after their arrest. The Kochhars were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in December 2022 in what came to be known as the Videocon-ICICI Bank loan case.

Soon after their arrest, they moved the court challenging their arrest and sought it to be declared as “illegal”. On January 9, 2023, the high court had passed its interim order which not only granted them bail but also came down heavily on the CBI for making the arrest in a “casual and mechanical” manner without application of mind, according to PTI.

Besides, the Kochhars, the CBI had also arrested Videocon group founder Venugopal Dhoot in the case. He, too, was granted bail by the high court in January 2023 in its interim order.

The CBI’s case against the Kochhars is that ICICI Bank had sanctioned credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore to Videocon Group companies, promoted by Dhoot, in violation of the Banking Regulation Act, Reserve Bank of India guidelines, and credit policy of the private sector lender.

In a first information report (FIR) filed in the case in 2019, the CBI named Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot along with Nupower Renewables (NRL), managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Ltd as accused. The FIR was filed under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI also alleged that in an act of quid pro quo, Dhoot made an investment of Rs 64 crore in Nupower Renewables through Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL), and transferred SEPL to Pinnacle Energy Trust managed by Deepak Kochhar through a circuitous route between 2010 and 2012.