A special court here on Thursday rejected the default bail plea of businessman Deepak Kochhar, husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and an accused in money laundering case. Deepak Kochhar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in September under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case.
The businessman, through his lawyer, applied for bail on merits as well as on account of default, claiming the prosecution has failed to file a charge-sheet in the case within stipulated period. The special PMLA judge rejected his default bail plea, while the one filed on merits is posted for hearing on November 23, ED's lawyer Hiten Venegaokar said.
Responding to Kochhar's claim that the probe agency had failed to file the charge-sheet on time, the prosecution had submitted that the same was filed on November 3, but it is pending scrutiny by the concerned department, as there are five trunks full of documents that needed to be verified. Thus, the court is yet to take the cognisance of the prosecution's complaint.
The ED had arrested Deepak Kochhar in September after it filed a criminal case of money laundering after studying an FIR registered by the CBI against the Kochhars, Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot and others. The central probe agency slapped money laundering charges against the Kochhars and their business entities for "illegal sanctioning of loans amounting to Rs 1,875 crore to the Videocon Group of companies".
The ED had earlier said an amount of Rs 64 crore, out of the Rs 300 crore loan sanctioned by a committee headed by Chanda Kochhar to Videocon International Electronics Ltd, was transferred to Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL) by Videocon Industries Ltd on September 8, 2009, just a day after disbursement of the loan by ICICI Bank. NRPL was earlier known as Nupower Renewables Ltd (NRL) and is a company of Deepak Kochhar.
The agency had alleged that the "net revenue of Rs 10.65 crore was generated by NRL from these tainted funds". "Therefore, proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 74.65 crore were transferred to or to say generated in NRPL," the ED had claimed.