chanda kochhar

NEW DELHI: A whistleblower on Friday cited “evidence” to allege that ICICI BankMD and CEO Chanda Kochhar and her family were “a huge beneficiary” of a loan sanctioned to Videocon Group by the bank, reported ANI.

“Evidence shows strong links that Chanda Kochhar and her family are a huge beneficiary of this loan. The government should order investigation and audit to check why the loan was given to a sinking company,” alleged Indian Investors Protection Council trustee Arvind Gupta.

“Venugopal Dhoot transferred money from Videocon Group to Supreme Energy, in which he had 90 percent shares. He promoted it and later transferred it to Deepak Kochhar. Deepak Kochhar then transferred his shareholdings to Pinnacle Energy. Pinnacle Energy was a trust formed by Kochhar family. Now they are saying they sold their NuPower Renewables shares much before. NuPower Renewables was a special purpose vehicle made to revert allegations in the future. ICICI never gave it a loan, but the company was benefited,” Gupta claimed.

Deepak Kochhar is the MD’s husband, while Venugopal Dhoot is the chairman of Videocon Group.

The CBI is, according to sources, attempting to verify the truth in these allegations through a preliminary inquiry (PE).

While the PE does not name Chanda Kochhar, it mentions “unknown bank officials.”

The bank had earlier this week said that its loans to Videocon were as part of a consortium of more than 20 banks and financial institutions which had sanctioned facilities to the Videocon Group for a debt consolidation programme and for its oil and gas capital expenditure programme aggregating approximately Rs 40,000 crore.

The loan from ICICI Bank stood at Rs 3,250 crore.

The bank’s chairman MK Sharma further clarified that the amount was not handed over to Videocon but placed in an escrow account controlled by the lead bank.

“That reply doesn’t inspire any confidence in me or any deposit holder or any shareholder. The question is when I say dirty banking, somebody else, other than the bank and its functioning or the management, have to look into the matter. And if you see their reply, they have gone into examining the internal process of giving loans. I am not asking about the process, your process may be very robust, your process may be very strong, transparent, but how does it matter,” he said about the statement issued by ICICI Bank.
(With inputs from agencies)

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