Bombay High Court grants interim bail to Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot; Alleging bank fraud

Bail to Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot: CBI arrested him on December 26, 2022, alleging bank fraud

Jan 20, 2023 - 12:40
Bombay High Court grants interim bail to Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot; Alleging bank fraud

The Bombay High Court has granted interim bail to Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot. The interim order was passed by Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Prithviraj Chavan. Dhoot filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, calling his arrest illegal. Dhoot was arrested by the CBI on 26 December 2022 in the ICICI Bank loan fraud case.
In his petition, Dhoot sought quashing of the remand orders of the Special CBI Court dated December 26, 28 and 29, 2022, under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution. Along with this, he termed the arrest as a violation of sections 41 and 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The same bench had on January 9 granted interim bail to ex-ICICI Bank MD Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar.
It is alleged that when Chanda Kochhar took charge of ICICI Bank, one of the largest private banks in the country, she sanctioned some loans to various companies of Videocon keeping the rules in check. In 2012, the existing balance of six accounts of Videocon group companies was adjusted against a loan of Rs 1,730 crore sanctioned under domestic debt refinancing.
The CBI had also reported that out of Rs 3,250 crore loan given in 2012, Rs 2,810 crore (about 86%) was not repaid. The accounts of Videocon and its group companies were declared NPAs in June 2017. The bank suffered losses due to the declaration of NPA.
The probe into the matter began in 2016 after Arvind Gupta, an investor in both the firms, Videocon Group and ICICI Bank, raised concerns about loan irregularities. Gupta wrote about this to the RBI and even the Prime Minister, but his complaint went unnoticed at that time. In March 2018, another whistle-blower complained.
After the complaint was made against the top management, the attention of many agencies went towards this. However, in the same month, the bank issued a statement saying that it had full faith in Chanda Kochhar. The statement was made after an investigation into Chanda's alleged role in passing off the loan to Videocon Group. The agencies continued with their investigation and after increasing pressure on the bank, it also started the investigation. After this CBI registered FIR on 24 January 2019.
CBI registers Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon Group as well as Nupower Renewables, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Ltd under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption in loan fraud case The accused was made in the FIR.
In January 2020, the Enforcement Directorate attached assets worth more than Rs 78 crore of the Kochhar family. Following this, the agency arrested Deepak Kochhar under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after several rounds of questioning.
Venugopal Dhoot, 71, was born in Mumbai. His identity is that of an Indian businessman. According to Forbes, he had a net worth of $1.19 billion in 2015 and was then the 61st richest man in India and 1190th in the world. He served as the founder, chairman and managing director of Videocon.

Muskan Kumawat Journalist & Writer