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ED Calls Chanda Kochhar To Answer ‘Suspicious’ Questions Over Bhushan Steel, Jaypee Loans

During Chanda Kochhar’s tenure as CEO to Jaypee Group and Bhushan Steel, the loans of over ₹2,000 crore provided by ICICI Bank are under Enforcement Directorate’s scanner. ED has called her on May 3 to answer regarding “suspicious” transactions. 

Details of loans given to some corporates are submitted to the ED- the loans have since turned bad – during her tenure. 

Her husband, Deepak Kochhar, and brother-in-law have been summoned on April 30 in connection with a money laundering probe. A prevention of money laundering act (PMLA) case was registered by ED last year based on a CBI FIR where the latter alleged that Kochhar had entered into a criminal conspiracy with other accused to cheat ICICI Bank by sanctioning loans of over 3,000 crore to the Videocon group.

Now, the ED probe has been extended to all loans to corporates by ICICI Bank during Chanda Kochhar’s tenure. These include loans worth 1,000 crore each to Jaypee and to Bhushan Steel, which later turned bad. 

During searches at nine premises in Mumbai and two in Aurangabad, officials seized several documents and electronic data which may disclose a money trail. ED had also carried out searches at several premises of Kochhar, Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot and his associate Mahesh Pugulia on March 1 in Mumbai and Aurangabad. An income tax probe earlier revealed that after ICICI Bank extended huge loans to Dhoot’s Videocon group and the latter “invested” more than Rs 300 crore in Deepak Kochhar’s NuPower Renewables. The agencies are probing if the investment made by Dhoot was part of a quid pro quo for the line of credit he got from ICICI Bank.

Deepak Kochhar — founder director of NuPower Renewables — was asked by income tax department in April last year to give details explaining the source of Rs 325 crore his NuPower had received from two Mauritius-based entities. 

A source said the I-T department has shared details of transactions and money trail between Dhoot and Kochhar’s entities with ED to establish money laundering charges. The two Mauritius companies — First Land Holdings Ltd and DH Renewables Holdings Ltd — are under scrutiny for transactions with Kochhar’s Nu-Power Renewables. Kochhar was last year summoned by the I-T investigation to explain the source of funds in these two entities.