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Videocon loan case: I-T dept issues notice to Deepak Kochhar

By PTI
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    The Income Tax Department has issued a notice to Deepak Kochhar-husband of ICICI bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar-in connection with its investigation into allegations of tax evasion in the Videocon bank loan case, officials said.

    Image for representation only

    They said the notice has been issued to Deepak Kochhar under section 131 (power regarding discovery, production of evidence) of the Income Tax Act. Kochhar has been asked for details of his personal finances, Income Tax Returns (ITRs) for the last few years and business transactions with NuPower Renewables, a company that Deepak Kochchar founded.

    The department is investigating finances of the company and those associated with it, officials said.

    In a related development, officials at the Central Bureau of Investigation said that Deepak Kochhar, who had been named in their preliminary inquiry, would be called soon for questioning.

    The CBI had already questioned some ICICI bank officials as part of their preliminary inquiry into whether any quid pro quo involved in the bank's issuing of Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon in 2012.

    The deal came under intense scrutiny after reports questioned the loan. News reports claimed that the bank issued the loan as part of a quid pro quo deal involving Videocon group promoter Venugopal Dhoot and NuPower Renewables.

    The preliminary inquiry by the CBI named Dhoot, Deepak Kochhar and unidentified others, officials said.

    A preliminary inquiry (PE) is a precursor to an FIR: the latter is registered on the basis of evidence collected during the former.

    IICICI Bank board issued a statement last week supporting CEO Chanda Kochhar. The statement said that the bank had faith in her decisions, and called news reports against her "malicious and unfounded rumours".

    The board had also reviewed the bank's internal processes for credit approval and found them robust, the statement said.

    As for the loans, the bank said its exposure to the Videocon Group was part of a syndicated consortium arrangement.

    "ICICI Bank was not the lead bank for this consortium and the bank only sanctioned its share of facilities aggregating approximately Rs 3,250 crore, which was less than 10 per cent of the total consortium facility in April 2012," it statement said, adding that no investor from NuPower Renewables had borrowed from the bank.

    PTI

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