Videocon loan case: ED questions Venugopal Dhoot for 5 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday questioned Videocon’s CMD Venugopal Dhoot for over five hours in connection with its money laundering probe in the Rs 1,875-crore Videocon-ICICI loan case.

A senior ED official told IANS: “Yes, Dhoot was asked to appear before the agency. We questioned him under the sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.”

The official said that Dhoot arrived at the financial probe agency’s office in south Delhi’s Khan Market office in the evening.

The case is related to the alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in the sanction of a Rs 1,875 crore loan disbursed by ICICI Bank to the Videocon Group during 2009 and 2011.

The ED has got clues about an illegal transaction running into crores of rupees routed to NuPower, a company run by Deepak Kochhar, husband of then ICICI Bank CEO and Managing Director Chanda Kochhar. The financial probe agency had, this May, questioned the Kochhars on many occasions in Mumbai. It had also questioned Dhoot earlier in connection with the case in June and in March.

In March, the ED had conducted searches at the residence and office premises of the Kochhars and questioned them along with Dhoot, who had allegedly invested in NuPower through his firm Supreme Energy as quid pro quo for loans cleared by the ICICI Bank under Chanda Kochhar.

Of the Rs 40,000 crore loan to the Videocon group, Rs 3,250 crore was given by ICICI Bank. A large portion of the loan by ICICI was unpaid at the end of 2017 and the bank proceeded to declare the Rs 2,810 crore of it as non-performing assets (NPA).

The ED started the probe after registering a criminal case under the PMLA in February against the Kochhars, Dhoot and others, following the FIR by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

–IANS
aks/vd


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