Friday, January 15, 2021

India: Anti-graft agency freezes former ICICI Bank CEO assets in money laundering case

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached movable and immovable assets worth Rs 78.15 crore of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar in connection with the money laundering case involving the bank and the Videocon Group.

The provisionally attached properties include her Mumbai apartment and those belonging to a company owned by her husband, Deepak Kochhar. In addition, the ED seized cash as well as plant and machineries of wind farm projects located in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

The ED had initiated investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after taking cognisance of a CBI FIR for illegal sanction of loans amounting to Rs 1,875 crore to Videocon Group of Companies by the ICICI Bank when Chanda was heading it. The case was registered under IPC sections relating to criminal conspiracy and cheating and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

“Investigations under PMLA revealed that loans were refinanced and new loan aggregating to Rs 1,730 crore was sanctioned to Videocon Industries Limited (VIL) and its group companies and these loans became Non Performing Assets (NPA) for ICICI Bank on June 30, 2017,” the ED said in a statement.

Investigation further revealed that an amount of Rs 64 crore, out of the loan of Rs 300 crore sanctioned by a committee headed by Chanda to Videocon International Electronics Limited, was transferred to Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd, a company owned by her husband Deepak Kochhar, on September 8, 2009, just a day after disbursement of the loan by bank.

Net revenue of Rs 10.65 crore was generated by the NRL from these tainted funds and “proceeds of crime” amounting to Rs 74.65 crore was transferred in NRPL, it said.

Investigation also revealed that Chanda and her family acquired the apartment at Mumbai owned by one of the Videocon Group Companies, by way of acquiring that company through her family trust at a nominal price by creating book entries, the agency said.

“Assets amounting to Rs 74.54 crore held in the name of Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd and its subsidiaries; flat located at Mumbai (book value of Rs 3.5 crore); and amount of Rs 10.5 lakh already seized by ED from company of Deepak Kochhar, totalling to Rs 78.15 crore being proceeds of crime have been provisionally attached by ED under PMLA,” the ED added.

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