ICICI's Videocon loan: 'Chanda Kochhar and family are huge beneficiaries of it', says whistleblower
Even as the ICICI bank came out in support of its CEO in the Videocon loan case, whistleblower Arvind Gupta on Friday said that Chanda Kochhar and her family benefited from the loan and demanded a thorough probe into the matter.
Deepak Kochhar, the founder of wind energy company NuPower Renewables, has been in the eye of a storm over his company's relationship with Videocon group, which received a loan in 2012 from ICICI Bank, headed by his wife Chanda Kochhar. The transactions, however, were first highlighted by investor Arvind Gupta in 2016. Gupta wrote to the Prime Minister, the Reserve Bank of India governor and other authorities seeking an inquiry into the dealings. Gupta's complaint got little or no attention then, said reports.
"Evidence shows strong linkages that Chanda Kochhar and her family members are a huge beneficiary of this loan. The government should order a forensic investigation & audit to check why loan was given to a sinking company," Gupta told news agency ANI today (March 30).
"Venugopal Dhoot transferred money from Videocon Group to Supreme Energy, in which he had 90% shares. He promoted it & later transferred it to Deepak Kochhar. Deepak Kochhar then transferred his shareholdings to Pinnacle Energy," Gupta added.
Yesterday, ICICI bank came out in full support of its chief executive Chanda Kochhar, rubbishing reports of wrongdoing in loans given to debt-laden Videocon. In Kochhar's defence, chairman MK Sharma said Kochhar was not head of the committee and large loans are approved by board's credit committee.
Sharma said, "Board has reviewed internal processes for loans. Share of sanction to the Videocon group is less than 10%, and exposure to Videocon has gone down in percentage terms since."
NuPower Renewables has, on its part, said that it has no concern or connection with ICICI Bank's lending to companies owned by Venugopal Dhoot, the promoter of Videocon.
"Pinnacle Energy was a trust formed by Kochhar family. Now they are saying they sold their shares of Nupower Renewables much before. NuPower Renewables was special purpose vehicle made to revert allegations in future. ICICI never gave it loan, but company was benefited," Gupta said on Nupower Renewables.
"They gave loan to Videocon, a company which is in loss of more than Rs 40,000 cr and almost bankrupt. Deepak Kochhar, Chanda Kochhar's husband, is one of the shareholder in Nupower Renewables and thus,an indirect beneficiary of the loan granted to Videocon," he further said.
Dhoot has said that his investment in Supreme Industries - the company alleged to have invested in Deepak Kocchar-promoted NuPower Renewables - was only in thousands of rupees and a temporary one. He denied that any Videocon group company had funded NuPower when he was an investor in Supreme.