The Vacation Bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused any interim relief to former Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar in connection with their arrest in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan fraud case.
The bench asked the petitioners to approach a regular bench when the court reopens after the Christamas-New Year holidays. The couple approached the HC challenging their arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the loan fraud case contesting the CBI’s claim of non-cooperation.
The CBI on Monday got three-day custody of Chanda, Deepak, and Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot, a co-accused in the ICICI Bank money laundering case.
Deepak Kochhar’s advocate Vikram Chaudhary said, “In the remand, it is said that Deepak Kochhar was not cooperating in the investigation but nothing is explained about how and why.”
His advocate further said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has already conducted an investigation. He said the investigation went on for six months but the CBI arrested Deepak Kochhar after he got bail. Chaudhary further alleged that Deepak Kochhar was arrested in an inhumane manner and the agency needs to explain his arrest.
“Deepak Kochhar got bail in the ED case. The agency approached the Supreme Court challenging my client’s bail but it refused to intervene. My client was arrested in an inhumane manner at a time when his son’s marriage has been fixed. This is illegal. The arrest of Deepak Kochhar needs to be explained. It was not a routine arrest,” said Chaudhary.
Chaudhary added that the arrest could not be made on the allegations alone.
“It is a 2017 case. If they think that my client committed a crime, why did they not arrest him for 5 years? This is a blatant misuse of power and a violation of my client’s fundamental rights,” said Chaudhary.
He said the high court has said no offence was made out in all cases and even the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the matter.
Amit Desai, the advocate for Chanda Kochhar, told the court that there is no instance where the CBI filed a charge sheet against his client and she was found guilty as charged. “The CBI did not investigate for two days. How can it then say that my client is not cooperating?” Desai said.
The CBI, in its charge sheet, said, “Dhoot has not disclosed full and true facts and for making proper investigation and taking the case to the logical end. He is required to be confronted with Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar.”
Kochhar’s advocate said they would not apply for bail immediately as the case is at the remand stage.
The case is related to alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in the sanction of a Rs 1,875 crore loan disbursed by ICICI Bank to the Videocon Group between 2009 and 2011.
During its preliminary inquiry, 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 an alleged violation of the laid-down policies of ICICI Bank.
The agency claimed the loans were declared non-performing assets in 2012, causing a loss of Rs 1,730 crore to the bank. Opindia