ICICI-Videocon case: HC declines urgent hearing on plea by Deepak Kochhar

By PTI

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to take up for urgent hearing a plea filed by Deepak Kochhar, businessman and husband of former Chief Executive Officer of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, seeking to quash proceedings initiated against him by the ED in an alleged money laundering case.

Deepak Kochchar, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in September last year, had sought urgent hearing in his plea claiming the trial court is likely to frame charges against him on October 1.

Justice S K Shinde, however, noted that he was not inclined to take up the plea for hearing on an urgent basis.

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“What is so urgent about this matter? Why should I give priority to this matter? Let the trial court frame charges. Should I hear matters only because the trial court will proceed? Every matter is like that. I am not inclined,” Justice Shinde said.

The court posted the plea for hearing on September 22.

Deepak Kochhar has challenged an order of a special court hearing cases filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in which process (notice/summons) was issued based on a prosecution complaint (akin to a chargesheet) as well as all consequential proceedings arising from the same.

The businessman has claimed that in 2020, the statutory adjudicating authority under the PMLA had clearly stated that the said property was not proceeds of crime.

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However, the ED had suppressed the fact before the special court and got an order in their favour, he has claimed.

In light of this, Kochhar has sought quashing of the PMLA court order.

The alleged money laundering case being investigated by the ED related to siphoning off six high-value loans from ICICI Bank to various companies of Videocon Industries Ltd.

According to the ED, the alleged siphoning off is to the tune of Rs 300 crores.

The ED has alleged that Rs 64 crore, out of Rs 300 crore loan sanctioned by a committee of ICICI Bank headed by Chanda Kochhar to Videocon International Electronics, was transferred to another firm, Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL), by Videocon Industries on September 8, 2009, a day after the loan disbursement.

NRPL was earlier known as Nupower Renewables Ltd (NRL) and is owned by Deepak Kochhar.