ICICI Bank former chief executive officer and managing director (CEO and MD) Chanda Kochhar has denied at least nine charges levelled by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) during her interrogation in connection with quid pro quo and violation of anti-money laundering laws, said a senior official.
According to the official, she maintained her stand saying she was not solely responsible for sanctioning loans to corporates, and that it was a collective decision of the entire credit committee. However, the agency rebutted the argument, saying it has found strong evidence of quid pro quo in lieu of loans to companies. The agency has established that the Kochhar family (Chanda Kochhar and husband Deepak Kochhar) got kickbacks in the case, the official added.
She has been interrogated about the loans to many corporates other than Videocon group of companies and Essar group firms, it is learnt. She was also asked about the assets allegedly created out of the proceeds of crime.
The ED is investigating trails of kickbacks allegedly paid by corporates to get loans sanctioned. Another round of questioning is likely next week. “If she continues evading the questions, denying the charges and not providing proper explanation, she might face the consequences,” said one of the officials quoted above.
So far, no such quid pro quo angle has been found in the case of other committee members who were part of the sanctioning committee.
In this case, prima facie, Kochhar was the one who took the decision to sanction or extend the corporate loans in at least six to seven big loan accounts, the official said.
Meanwhile, the ED also sought certain information from the ICICI Bank about the credit sanctioning process and the internal enquiry which was being conducted by the private lender last year.
The ED is said to be in possession of crucial documents pertaining to the transaction between Deepak Kochhar’s firm Nupower Renewables and Videocon Industries. Also, there’s evidence showing diversion of funds in the transactions between NuPower and Firstland Holdings.
The Essar group invested Rs 163 crore in Deepak Kochhar’s Firstland and then Firstland invested about Rs 400 crore in Nupower.The maze of transaction suggests violation of money laundering laws, say sources.