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Videocon-Chanda Kochhar Case

Context:

Recently, the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI)arrested private lender ICICI Bank’s former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD &CEO)Chanda Kochhar along with her husband, Deepak Kochhar. The CBI also arrested Videocon promoter Venugopal Dhoot.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the case about?
  2. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

What is the case about?

  • This was in a case pertaining to fraudulent disbursal of loans amounting to ₹1,875 crore between 2009-11to the Videocon group of companies, during her tenure at the helm of the private lender.
    • Ms. Kochhar is accused of conspiring with her husband to abuse her powers at the helm of the private lender for extending loans to the Videocon Group.
  • Between June 2009 and October 2011, ICICI Bank had sanctioned six high value loans to varied companies owned by Videocon.
  • The financial transactions resulted in wrongful loss to the private lender.
  • Further, they were in violation of the credit (extending) policy and were later deemed to be non-performing assets (NPAs) for the lender.
  • On August 26, 2009,the private lender sanctioned Rupee Term Loan (RTL) of ₹300 crore(of which ₹283.45 crore was eventually disbursed)to Videocon.
  • The loan was disbursed on September 7.It was on the very next day that Mr Dhoot transferred ₹64 crore to Nu Power Renewables Ltd (NRL)managed by Mr. Kochhar.
  • The ₹64 crore in question, thus, is being alleged to be part of a reciprocal arrangement between Mr. Kochhar and Mr. Dhoot.

What is their defence?

  • Arguing for his bail plea in the Bombay High Court, Mr. Kochhar’s defence had stated that Videocon has been a client of the private lender since 1985.
  • It had extended several loans and credit facilities to the group as part of their long-standing relationship.
  • It also stated that Videocon’s investment in NRL was in the nature of equity where the return “would be gathered by capital appreciation on the basis of growth of the company and valuation of its assets”.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was set up in 1963 after the recommendation of Santhanam committee under Ministry of Home affairs and was later transferred to the Ministry of Personnel and now it enjoys the status of an attached office.
  • Now, the CBI comes under the administrative control of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  • The CBI derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, however, it is NOT a Statutory Body.
  • CBI is the apex anti-corruption body in the country – Along with being the main investigating agency of the Central Government it also provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal.
  • The CBI is required to obtain the prior approval of the Central Government before conducting any inquiry or investigation.
  • The CBI is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigations on behalf of Interpol Member countries.
  • The CBI’s conviction rate is as high as 65 to 70% and it is comparable to the best investigation agencies in the world.
  • The CBI is headed by a Director and he is assisted by a special director or an additional director. It has joint directors, deputy inspector generals, superintendents of police.
Functions of CBI
  • Investigating cases of corruption, bribery and misconduct of Central government employees
  • Investigating cases relating to infringement of fiscal and economic laws, that is, breach of laws concerning export and import control, customs and central excise, income tax, foreign exchange regulations and so on. However, such cases are taken up either in consultation with or at the request of the department concerned.
  • Investigating serious crimes, having national and international ramifications, committed by organized gangs of professional criminals.
  • Coordinating the activities of the anti-corruption agencies and the various state police forces.
  • Taking up, on the request of a state government, any case of public importance for investigation.
  • Maintaining crime statistics and disseminating criminal information.
  • The CBI acts as the “National Central Bureau” of Interpol in India.

-Source: The Hindu


February 2023
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