The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday filed an FIR against Chanda Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot, Deepak Kochhar among others in connection with the case pertaining to transactions between Videocon Group promoted by Dhoot and Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd, controlled by Deepak Kochhar, husband of Chanda Kochhar, former MD and CEO of ICICI Bank, and loans given by ICICI Bank to Videocon Group.
In March 2018, The Indian Express reported about a series of financial transactions and ownership transfers that took place between 2008 and 2013 across companies owned by Venugopal Dhoot and those owned by Deepak Kochhar and that in turn raised questions of propriety and conflict of interest for Chanda Kochhar who was then MD and CEO of ICICI Bank.
The newspaper reported that while Videocon Group got a loan of Rs 3,250 crore from ICICI Bank in early 2012, six months later Dhoot transferred his ownership in Supreme Energy, that had given a Rs 64 crore loan to NuPower Renewables, to a trust headed by Deepak Kochhar for just Rs 9 lakh.
In effect, Dhoot owned Supreme Energy first gave a loan of Rs 64 crore to NuPower and then got subsumed by Pinnacle Energy within three years. Pinnacle Energy, was a trust, where Deepak Kochhar was the managing trustee.
While CBI is now raiding the premises of the entities involved in this transaction, what it may be looking for is documents related to financial transactions and ownership transfer between companies owned by Dhoot and Kochhar.
Nupower renewables: how a series of transfers of shares, loans developed
December 2008: Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot set up NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL). While Dhoot held 50 per cent stake in the company with his family members and associates, Deepak Kochhar and Pacific Capital owned by Deepak Kochhar’s father and Chanda Kochhar’s brother’s wife held the remaining 50 per cent.
January 2009: Dhoot resigned as director of NuPower and transferred his 24,999 shares in the company to Kochhar for Rs 2.5 lakh. In March 2010, NuPower got a loan of Rs 64 crore from Supreme Energy which was 99.9 per cent owned by Dhoot.
March 2010: Following a sequence of transfer of shares from Dhoot to Kochhar and then from Kochhar and his relatives’ Pacific Capital to Supreme Energy, Supreme Energy became a 94.99 per cent shareholder in NuPower by the end of March 2010. Kochhar held the remaining 4.99 per cent stake in NuPower at the time.
November 2010: Dhoot transferred his entire holding in Supreme Energy, to his associate Mahesh Chandra Punglia who in turn transferred his holding to Pinnacle Energy, for Rs 9 lakh between September 29, 2012 to April 29, 2013.