The Bombay High Court on Monday granted bail to former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar in a loan fraud case, noting their arrest was not done in conformity with provisions of law.
The couple was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on December 23, 2022 in connection with the Videocon-ICICI bank loan case. They are presently in judicial custody. A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and P K Chavan directed the Kochhars to deposit a cash bail amount of Rs one lakh each with one or more sureties of the same amount.
The bench said the duo shall cooperate with the probe and attend the CBI office as and when summoned.
”We have held that the petitioners’ (Kochhars) arrest was not in accordance with provisions of law and this warrants their release,” the high court said.
The court also asked Kochhars to surrender their passports to the CBI.
The order was passed on petitions filed by Chanda Kochhar and her husband challenging their arrest by the CBI in connection with the bank loan case.
The duo in their pleas said the CBI arrest was arbitrary and illegal. The CBI had named Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar as well as Videocon group founder Venugopal Dhoot along with Nupower Renewables (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Ltd as accused in the FIR registered in 2019 under Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The central agency has alleged private sector lender ICICI Bank sanctioned credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore to these companies in violation of norms.
It further alleged that as a part of quid pro quo, Dhoot made an investment of Rs 64 crore in Nupower Renewables through Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL), and transferred SEPL to Pinnacle Energy Trust managed by Deepak Kochhar through a circuitous route between 2010 and 2012.