Venugopal Dhoot’s plea, Chanda Kochhar’s demand for home food rejected in ICICI fraud case

NEW DELHI: A special court here on Thursday rejected Videocon founder Venugopal Dhoot’s plea which claimed that his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the alleged loan fraud involving former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar was illegal.

The CBI court also rejected applications of Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar for home food, beds, mattresses and chairs.

The court directed jail authorities to provide them diet food in consultation with the medical officer.

The Kochhars were arrested by the CBI on December 23, while Dhoot was arrested three days later. All three are currently in judicial custody.

Dhoot had challenged his arrest claiming it was illegal and sought immediate release from the case.

His lawyer S S Ladda, along with advocate Viral Babar, argued that Dhoot was arrested only because the investigating officer came under pressure after the Kochhar couple’s arrest.

During the first remand hearing of the Kochhars their lawyer questioned why Dhoot had not been arrested yet, the Videocon group founder’s lawyer pointed out.

The Kochhars were afraid that Dhoot might become an approver, advocate Ladda said.

The Kocchars’ lawyer made sure it was recorded in the remand order that Dhoot had not been arrested, which put pressure on the investigating officer leading to Dhoot’s arrest, he claimed.

Special Judge M R Purwar, however, didn’t find merit in the arguments and rejected Dhoot’s plea.

The CBI had named Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar as well as Venugopal Dhoot along with Nupower Renewables (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Limited as accused in the FIR registered in 2019 under Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI alleged that ICICI Bank sanctioned credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore to the companies of Videocon Group in violation of the Banking Regulation Act, RBI guidelines and the credit policy of the bank.

It further alleged that as a part 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.

Source: Press Trust of India

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