CBI arrested Videocon group leader Venugopal Dhoot in ICICI Bank loan scam. The investigating agency took the 71-year-old industrialist into custody after questioning in Mumbai on Monday morning. He is accused of colluding with the bank’s former MD-CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak to commit loan fraud. That debt subsequently turned into non-performing assets. CBI also alleged that he changed his statement several times yesterday.
The three were ordered to be remanded in CBI custody till Wednesday when they were produced in a special court on Monday. They may be interrogated face to face.
Earlier, CBI had arrested Chanda and Deepak in the same investigation last Friday. They got the special court’s permission to keep them in custody till Monday. The Kochhar couple has been accused of not cooperating with the investigation. On Saturday, Chanda’s lawyer claimed, in a letter dated July 2021, ICICI Bank said it had not incurred any losses in its dealings with Videocon. Moreover, the lawyer also raised the question why the main accused is not being arrested.
Role of Chanda
Chanda is believed to have played a major role in building ICICI Bank as one of the largest private banks in the country. She is the first woman to reach this position in any state owned or private bank in the country. ICICI Bank was almost synonymous with him. As spectacular as Chanda’s rise was, her fall was sudden. In 2015, the first irregularities in the bank came to the fore. At first Parsad was with Chanda, but as the complaints increased, she became isolated. She finally announced her retirement in 2018, six months before her term.
Venugopal Dhoot’s rise was similarly impressive. He entered the country’s industrial world in 1984 by creating Videocon after leaving his father Nandalal Madhavlal Dhoot’s business. He dreamed of bringing color TV to the countrymen at a low cost by bringing the Onida brand. Step by step business spread in areas like oil and gas, housing, retail. Joined the tele industry competition. But gradually, Videocon fell behind unable to compete with multinational consumer goods brands like Sony, Samsung, LG.
The final nail in the coffin was the cancellation of the 2G spectrum license by the Supreme Court in 2012. Later, Dhoot bought the spectrum again in the auction but sold it to Airtel after failing to run the business. A mountain of debt accumulates.
Finally in 2018, the process of restructuring the group started in the National Company Law Court under the Insolvency Act. By that time, the loan in the market reached 31 thousand crores. Last year, Anil Agarwal’s Twin Star Technologies announced the purchase of Videocon at a price of rupees 2692 crore. However, it was cancelled by the order of the Court of Appeal. Even though the case against that order is going on in the Supreme Court, sources say that the lenders may now go on the path of sale of the company or, if necessary, liquidation. One of the largest companies in independent India is therefore now for sale.