The Enforcement Directorate on Friday temporarily attached properties worth Rs 78 crore belonging to former ICICI Bank Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar, NDTV reported. The properties were attached as part of an ongoing investigation into a money laundering case involving the bank and the Videocon Group.
The provisionally attached properties include her apartment in Mumbai and those belonging to a company owned by her husband, Deepak Kochhar.
Chanda Kochhar’s lawyer Sujay Kantawala said that the Enforcement Directorate now has 180 days to prove that the purchase of the flat was made out of “proceeds of crime”. He added that because the attachment orders were provisional, his client cannot be dispossessed of the property. She can continue to live in her Mumbai apartment, but cannot sell or mortgage it.
Chanda Kochhar resigned in October 2018 after questions were raised about a Rs 3,250-crore loan that the bank had given the Videocon group in 2012. Six months after the loan was sanctioned, Videocon Managing Director Venugopal Dhoot allegedly provided crores of rupees to NuPower Renewables, founded by Deepak Kochhar. The CBI on January 27, 2019 filed a case against the Kochhars, Dhoot, and others, after carrying out searches at the headquarters of Videocon Group in Mumbai and its offices in Aurangabad, and offices of NuPower. The CBI has alleged that the accused sanctioned the loans to private companies in a criminal conspiracy with others in order to cheat the private lender.
In February last year, ICICI Bank sacked Chanda Kochhar, accusing her of violating its code of conduct and internal policies. The same month, the Central Bureau of Investigation issued a lookout circular against the three accused, a week after a case was registered against them. The agency had said the notices were issued to ensure that none of them left the country.
In March 2019, the Enforcement Directorate conducted searches at the homes and offices of Chanda Kochhar and Dhoot in a case of money laundering. The probe agency also searched the office of Nupower Renewables, a company founded and run by Deepak Kochhar.
In June, a court in Delhi directed concerned authorities to withdraw a lookout circular issued against businessman Rajiv Kochhar, the brother-in-law of Chanda Kochhar, and allow him to return to Singapore. Rajiv Kochhar is also an accused in the Videocon case.