The Vacation Bench of the Bombay High Court denied interim relief to former ICICI Bank Managing Director and CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar in connection with their detention in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan fraud case on Tuesday.
The panel directed the petitioners to visit a normal bench following the Christmas and New Year vacations. The couple sought the HC to protest their detention by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the loan fraud case, claiming non-cooperation by the CBI.
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 lawyer stated that they would not seek release right away because the matter is still in remand.
The issue involves alleged errors and unethical activities in the sanctioning of a Rs 1,875 crore loan to the Videocon Group by ICICI Bank between 2009 and 2011.
During its preliminary investigation, the CBI discovered that six loans totaling Rs 1,875 crore were sanctioned to the Videocon Group and firms linked with it between June 2009 and October 2011, allegedly in contravention of ICICI Bank’s regulations.
According to the agency, the loans were designated non-performing assets in 2012, resulting in a loss of Rs 1,730 crore for the bank.