The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday conducted raids at the offices of Videocon in Mumbai and Aurangabad, and the offices of NuPower Renewables and Supreme Energy in Mumbai. The raids were carried out in connection with the FIR registered by CBI in a case pertaining to transactions between Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd, controlled by Deepak Kochhar, husband of the former CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, and the Venugopal Dhoot-controlled 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 — which, in turn, raised questions of propriety and conflict of interest for Chanda Kochhar who was then MD and CEO of ICICI Bank.
This 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.
In the course of raids on the premises of the entities involved in this transaction, the CBI may be looking for certain documents related to financial transactions and ownership transfers.
In December 2008, Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot set up NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL). While Dhoot held 50% 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%.
Later in 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% owned by Dhoot. 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% shareholder in NuPower by the end of March 2010. Kochhar held the remaining 4.99% stake in NuPower at the time.
In 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.
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