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ICICI Bank-Videocon case: ED searches offices, residential premises of Chanda Kochhar, Dhoot

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi/Mumbai 

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday carried out searches against former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot and a few others in connection with a bank loan fraud case, according to officials.

The raids were carried out in at least five offices and residential premises in Mumbai and a few other locations, they said.

The agency, in a statement, said it is "conducting searches under PMLA at the premises of Chanda Kochhar, former chairman ICICI Bank, and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon Group in Mumbai and Aurangabad respectively".

Kochhar's residence in South Mumbai was also brought under the action, they said.

The officials added that Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar's brother-in-law Mahesh Pugalia were questioned by the sleuths during the operation.

It is also understood that ED officials also had a similar interaction with Dhoot.

There was no information about any recoveries or seizures made by the search teams till late evening.

The ED had registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) earlier this month against Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar, Dhoot and others to probe alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning of Rs 1,875-crore loans by ICICI Bank to the corporate group.

A team of ED sleuths, assisted by the police, is looking for more evidence in the case and the raids were launched early Friday morning, an official said.

The ED's PMLA case was filed after taking cognisance of a CBI complaint lodged in the matter earlier this year.

The CBI had named Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar, and Dhoot and his companies -- Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and Videocon Industries Limited (VIL) -- in the case.

The central probe agency also named Supreme Energy, a company founded by Dhoot, and Nupower Renewables, a company controlled by Deepak Kochhar, in the FIR.

It is alleged that Dhoot had invested in Deepak Kochhar's company Nupower Renewables through his firm Supreme Energy as a quid pro quo to loans cleared by ICICI Bank after Chanda Kochhar took over as the CEO of the bank on May 1, 2009.

The ownership of Nupower and Supreme Energy changed hands through a complex web of shared transactions between Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot, the CBI had alleged.

The case is also being investigated by the Income Tax Department, which has questioned Deepak Kochhar and a few others.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 01 2019. 20:25 IST