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Videocon Case: CBI Issues Look- Out Circular Against Chanda Kochhar

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The CBI has issued a look- out notice against former ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kochhar. It has also revived a notice against her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon managing director Venugopal Dhoot. 

Look-out circulars are notices sent to transit points like airports to restrict the movement of people under investigation by probe agencies.

Last month, the CBI had registered a First Information Report or FIR against the three people over allegations of irregularities in providing loans to Videocon Group when Chanda Kochhar was heading the private sector bank.

“A week after the registration of FIR against Chanda Kochhar, we opened a look-out circular against her and revived the look-out circulars issued against Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot last year,” a senior CBI officer said.

The agency is currently examining evidence collected during searches at the homes and offices of the accused right after the FIR was registered. Documents submitted by ICICI Bank too are being studied the officer said.

Once these documents are examined, the Kochhars and Mr Venugopal will be questioned, the officer.

Chanda Kochhar, 56, had quit as CEO and managing director of ICICI Bank in October last year over allegations that she favoured Videocon Group, a consumer electronics and oil and gas exploration company, in the bank’s lending practices.

She has been accused of criminal conspiracy and cheating by the CBI for alleged irregularities in a loan of Rs. 3,250 crore in 2012 to the Videocon Group, a legacy firm which has become a non-performing asset for the ICICI Bank. A whistleblower alleged that Ms Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar and her family members benefited from the dealings.

Saying that she violated the bank’s code of condict and internal policies, ICICI last month said it would treat Ms Kochhar’s exit as “termination for cause”.

Ms Kochhar, who worked at India’s third biggest lender for over three decades, rising through the ranks to become one of the most influential women bankers, said she was “utterly disappointed, hurt and shocked. ”

“I reiterate that none of the credit decisions at the bank are unilateral … the organisation design and structure obviate the possibility of conflict of interest,” she said.

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