Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar’s CCI chambers apartment ‘proceeds of crime’: ED

The Mumbai apartment was acquired for Rs 5.25 crore in February 1996 by Credential Finance Ltd (CFL), in which the Videocon Group had a substantial interest along with the Kochhar family, according to the ED’s remand application that was reviewed ...

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In November 2016, QTAPL was acquired by Kochhar family trust Quality Advisors for Rs 11 lakh. Deepak Kochhar is managing trustee of Quality Advisors.

MUMBAI: The CCI Chambers home of the former ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kochhar and her businessman husband Deepak Kochhar was bought at a “nominal consideration” and is being treated as “proceeds of crime,” the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Tuesday. It was seeking the custody of Deepak Kochhar, who was arrested on Monday.

The Kochhars and Videocon Group chairman Venugopal Dhoot are accused in a money-laundering case registered more than a year and half ago by the federal agency.

The Mumbai apartment was acquired for Rs 5.25 crore in February 1996 by Credential Finance Ltd (CFL), in which the Videocon Group had a substantial interest along with the Kochhar family, according to the ED’s remand application that was reviewed by ET. CFL defaulted on a loan of Rs 4.7 crore from SBI Home Finance for which the apartment was collateral. Videocon Group paid off the dues and, in 2009, ownership of the apartment was transferred to Quality Appliances Private Ltd (QAPL), now known as Quality Techno Advisors Pvt Ltd (QTAPL), a Videocon Group company, it said.


In November 2016, QTAPL was acquired by Kochhar family trust Quality Advisors for Rs 11 lakh. Deepak Kochhar is managing trustee of Quality Advisors.

The Kochhars have been living in the flat since 1996.

In January this year, the ED had provisionally attached assets worth Rs 78 crore, including the south Mumbai apartment, attributing these to be proceeds of crime. The ED’s adjudicating authority has yet to confirm the attachment.
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The ED counsel, additional solicitor general Anil Singh, told the court that Kochhar had been “evasive” and non-cooperative.

“Interrogation of Kochhar may reveal crucial facts which are in his exclusive domain,” he said. “If his remand is not granted, there is likelihood of him trying to obfuscate the trial of proceeds of crime identified so far or which are yet to be unearthed.”

Kochhar has been booked under Sections 3 and 4 of the PMLA.

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The remand application said Chanda Kochhar was involved in approving loans to Videocon Group companies as chairperson of the sanctioning committee of ICICI Bank. The lender okayed a loan of Rs 300 crore to Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) that’s under the agency’s scanner.

“Although VIEL transferred loan funds to VIL (Videocon International Ltd) as per agreed arrangement with the bank, VIL in contravention of the terms of loan sanctioned for capital expenditure, transferred Rs 64 crore out of the loan proceeds to (Deepak Kochhar’s) NuPower

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Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRL) through Supreme Energy Private Ltd (SEPL),” the remand application said. “The said amount of Rs 64 crore was not used by VIL for the intended purpose and was transferred to NRL.”

ICICI Bank’s enquiry concluded that Chanda Kochhar had violated its code of conduct, the framework for dealing with conflicts of interest,provisions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) master circular on loans and advances relating to conflict of interest and other norms. “Board of ICICI Bank found her guilty of wilful and gross misconduct, gross negligence and that her actions were detrimental to the interest of the bank,” the ED told the special court.

The ED said the Rs 64 crore amounted to proceeds of crime and was quid pro quo for the loan sanctioned to VIL group by ICICI Bank when Chanda Kochhar was heading it. The agency said the money was used to purchase assets including wind farm projects of 33.15 MW capacity.

While Deepak Kochhar has been director of NRL since its incorporation in December 2008, SEPL was acquired by Pinnacle Energy, a Kochhar family trust. Deepak Kochhar is managing trustee of this as well.

The ED said an elaborate structure through a web of companies was created to hold the Rs 64 crore. “This was all done on the instructions of Deepak,” the remand application said.

“Deepak Kochhar is deliberately not providing crucial documents/ leads and taken stands contradictory to the records, despite being provided with ample opportunities to rebut the same,” ED told the court. “He also willfully withheld the information which was in his exclusive knowledge.”

The ED needed his custody to determine the “money trail, ascertain proceeds of crime, determine the roles of other persons and for corroboration and confrontation with other persons involved in the case.”

Deepak Kochhar’s advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who joined via video conference, said his client had not been presented before the court within the required 24 hours of detention. Kochhar had joined the ED’s probe at the agency's Mumbai office at 10.30 am on Monday but was only presented in court at 12.23 pm on Tuesday, he said. The ED's counsel said Kochhar had been arrested at 8.06 pm on Monday and presented well within the stipulated period.

Aggarwal also argued that his client had the “right to silence” and cannot be deemed non-cooperative.

Chanda Kochhar was present in court while the hearing was underway.

The ED filed the money laundering case in January 2019 after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked the Kochhars, Dhoot and six others over alleged quid pro quo over loan transactions between ICICI Bank and Videocon. The CBI had accused Chanda Kochhar of receiving a kickback through her husband from Videocon for sanctioning loans. The Kochhars, Dhoot and the other accused have denied the allegations. The Kochhars are also being probed by the income tax department and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
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