The Bombay High Court on Monday ordered the release of former ICICI bank Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar, saying that their arrests in a loan fraud case were not in accordance with the law, Bar and Bench reported.
On December 23, the Central Bureau of Investigation had arrested them, alleging that the ICICI bank under the leadership of Chanda Kochhar sanctioned a Rs 3,250-crore loan to companies owned by the Videocon Group that are in direct violation of the Banking Regulation Act, the Reserve Bank of India rules and the credit policies of the private sector bank.
On Monday, a bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and PK Chavan held that the arrests were not in accordance with Section 41A (notice of appearance before police officer) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Their counsel for Kocchars had told the High Court that there was no need to arrest them as they had appeared before the CBI and even cooperated with the officials from the beginning of the investigation by providing hundreds of pages of documents, according to Live Law.
The counsel said no female officer was present when Chanda Kochhar was arrested, violating the provisions of Section 46(4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
At Thursday’s hearing, the Kochhars questioned the timing of their arrests, citing their son’s wedding.
The judges have ordered their release from Arthur Road Jail on a cash bond of Rs 1 lakh.
Chanda Kochhar had resigned from her post in October 2018 after questions were raised about the Rs 3,250-crore credit provided to the Videocon Group in 2012.
Six months after the loan was sanctioned, Videocon Group’s Managing Director Venugopal Dhoot allegedly provided crores of rupees to NuPower, a firm controlled by Deepak Kochhar.
In 2019, the Central Bureau of Investigation had filed a case against Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot.
A case of money laundering was also filed against them in 2019 by the Enforcement Directorate. The central agency has also been investigating at least two other instances of loans granted by ICICI Bank during Chanda Kochhar’s term. One of them was given to Gujarat-based pharmaceutical firm Sterling Biotech and another to Bhushan Steel Group.
Chanda Kochhar was granted bail in February 2021.