THE CBI Saturday examined Mahesh Chandra Punglia, director of NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd, in connection with the preliminary enquiry (PE) registered by the agency on an alleged quid pro quo in the Rs 3,250-crore bank loan granted by ICICI Bank to Videocon Group in 2012. Punglia, according to CBI sources, is closely associated with the Videocon Group and has been a former employee of the firm. The CBI also continued to examine Rajiv Kochhar, the brother-in-law of ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar, for the third day in connection with the PE.
The Indian Express had reported on March 29 that Videocon promoter Venugopal Dhoot formed NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd as a joint venture with Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar, loaned him Rs 64 crore and transferred ownership of the lending entity to him for just Rs 9 lakh. This transfer happened six months after the Videocon Group got a loan from ICICI Bank. Almost 86 per cent of that loan — Rs 2,810 crore — remains unpaid and the Videocon account was declared an NPA in 2017.
Rajiv Kochhar, founder of Singapore-based Avista Advisory, got the mandate to restructure foreign currency-denominated debt deals worth over $1.7 billion of seven companies over the last six years. All these companies were borrowers of ICICI Bank at the same time. In at least one of these deals, ICICI Bank was the lead bank of the lenders.
According to Registrar of Companies records, as part of these series of transactions, Dhoot transferred his entire holding in Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd, which was a 94.99 per cent shareholder in NuPower, to Punglia in November 2010.