ED questions Kocchars, Dhoot till late hours

The questioningbegan late on Friday night and was concluded around 4 am in the early hours of Saturday, officials said.

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned former ICICI bank chief Chanda Kocchar, her husband Deepak Kocchar and Videocon Group’s chief Venugopal Dhoot in connection with the bank fraud case comprising of allegation of quid pro co. The officials said that the questioning took place late on Friday night soon after the raids were concluded, and continued till late on Saturday.

The ED officials raided at least six locations, including Kocchar and Dhoot’s residence, in Mumbai and Aurangabad respectively. The agency began questioning the trio based on the seized documents. The questioning was concluded around 4am in the early hours of Saturday and resumed again around noon.

“The questioning was to ascertain clarity on the evidences that were found and collected during the searches conducted on Friday. They may be questioned again with regards to the same,” said an ED officer.

After the grilling began on Saturday noon, Kocchars were questioned together and subsequently Chanda left from the ED office at around 1.30pm. The ED officers then continued to questioned Deepak Kocchar and Mr Dhoot till late in the evening.

The ED has also issued lookout notices against the three with the immigration authorities to restrict any of the three from taking a trip overseas. Apart from the documents, computers and hard disks seized during the searches will also be analysed for accessing the data stored in them.

The ED has registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) earlier this year against Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar, Mr 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.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named Mr Dhoot’s companies — Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and Videocon Industries Limited (VIL), Supreme Energy and NuPower Renewables, a company controlled by Deepak Kochhar, in the FIR.

“The CBI’s investigations indicate that after the first loan of Rs 300 crore was released by the ICICI bank to Mr Dhoot’s VIEL, a sum of Rs 64 crore was released to the account of Nupower Renewables Ltd, managed by Mr Kocchar, the very next day. We are verifying this as well as the further trail of this amount,” the officer said.

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