ICICI-Videocon, PNB fraud among top 5 cases under CBI lens

New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) | Publish Date: 2/3/2019 12:00:26 PM IST

The corruption case against former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar in Rs 3,250-crore loan irregularity involving the Videocon Group and the ICICI Bank is learnt to be part of top five cases being probed on a priority by the CBI which is now set to focus on these matters under its newly appointed Director Rishi Kumar Shukla, sources said.

Other cases under special scrutiny include multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case involving fugitive diamantire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, AgustaWestland chopper deal, business tycoon Vijay Mallya loan fraud, and INX Media case linked to former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti, said an official.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is now planning to issue summons to Chanda Kochhar, her husband and NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd MD Deepak Kochhar, and Videocon Group MD Dhoot, and others in the case dating back to 2009-2012. On January 23, the CBI registered a case in the matter and carried out raids at four places the next day. 

Chanda Kochhar is allegedly of “sanctioning loans to private companies in a criminal conspiracy with other accused to cheat ICICI Bank”. The FIR followed a preliminary enquiry (PE) instituted on March 31, 2018, against Deepak Kochhar, Videocon Group officials and others to determine whether any wrongdoing was involved in the sanctioning of loan by the ICICI Bank as part of a consortium. 

Extraditing diamantaire Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who are accused in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, is learnt to be the prime agenda of the central probe agency. 

The CBI registered the first FIR in the matter on January 31, 2018 against Nirav Modi and Choksi for defrauding the PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai by illegally issuing Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Letters of Credit during 2011-17. 

As both the businessmen had left India before the CBI started its investigations, the agency has managed to issue Red Corner notices against them. Choksi’s location has been traced to Antigua while whereabouts of Nirav Modi is not clear yet. The CBI, however, has filed chargesheet in the case. 

In Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, the CBI has expedited its investigation after December 4, 2018, when it, with the help of Central government, secured the extradition from the United Arab Emirates of British national Christian Michel James, the middlemen of the deal. The CBI has filed chargesheets in the case but the investigation is still on. 

In connection with the case, the Enforcement Directorate, which is also probing the money laundering angle in the case, last week secured extradition of co-accused Rajiv Saxena from UAE. Saxena in connivance with Gautam Khaitan, a lawyer, is accused of providing corporate structure across the globe to the laundered money for payment to various political persons, bureaucrats and air force officials to influence the contract for supplying 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland. 

The CBI is also in the process of extraditing liquor baron Vijay Mallya against whom a Mumbai court on January 5 issued order declaring him a ‘fugitive’ under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018. The agency last year had also scored success when a British court ordered extradition of Mallya, who fled India in March 2016 over a Rs 9,000-crore bank loan fraud.

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