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CBI documents a PE against Deepak Kochhar, ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar’s husband and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon

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The ICICI bank has rigorously defended Chanda Kochhar and said it lays “full faith” in her. It also stated that there was no room for any kind of favouritism, any nepotism or quid pro quo in loans given to Videocon.


The CBI has lodged a preliminary enquiry into the alleged connection between CEO and MD of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochar’s husband Deepak Kochhar and group Chairman of Videocon Venugopal Dhoot.

As per the sources, the PE seeks to determine the accuracy of allegations that Dhoot gave away crores of rupees to a company promoted by Deepak Kochhar along with his two relatives six months after the Videocon group got a loan of Rs. 3250 crores from the ICICI Bank in the year 2012. The amount was a fraction of the loan of Rs. 40,000 crores that the Videocon group secured from a group of 20 banks that are managed by the SBI.

Dhoot reportedly gave 64 crore rupees in the year 2010 through a completely owned entity by the name of Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL) he had established in collaboration with Deepak Kochhar along with his two relatives. It is alleged that he moved the company’s proprietorship to a trust that was owned by Deepak Kochhar for Rs. 9 lakhs after six months of receiving the loan from the ICICI bank.

Moreover, as per the sources, contrary to her spouse and Dhoot name of Chanda Kochhar was not stated in the PE, which was documented a month ago based on the information that was received. The PE, however, states “unknown bank officials”.

According to the sources, Dhoot and Deepak Kochhar and “unknown” officials of the ICICI bank and other banks as well who founded the consortium, will be called in for inspection soon. The sources further added, that whether or not Chanda will be called for interrogation will be decided after the documents are examined.

The CBI has collected the documents that are related to the loan granted for Rs. 40,000 crores along with the documents that hold evidence for the setting up of NRPL that was done by Dhoot and Deepak Kochhar.

On the other hand, ICICI bank has rigorously defended Chanda Kochhar and said it lays “full faith” in her. It also stated that there was no room for any kind of favouritism, any nepotism or quid pro quo in loans given to Videocon.

Further, the business connections between Dhoot and Deepak Kochhar have now mounted to a controversy over alleged “conflict of interest”, with a whistleblower accusing Chanda Kochhar of using her position to promote her husband’s business.

M K Sharma, chairman of the ICICI bank had asserted that the lender had replied satisfactorily to all the questions that the regulators had raised in the case. He also defended the decision made by Chanda Kochhar of not to have recused herself from the credit committee meeting that had approved the loans to the Videocon group.

Dhoot, in his defence said, his investment in Supreme Energy-the company alleged to have made an investment in NuPower Renewables that was promoted by Deepak Kochhar-was just in thousand rupees and that too a short-term one. He refuted that any company of the Videocon group had given funds to the NuPower group when he was an investor in Supreme.

The allegations were first made by a shareholder in the year 2016, who had written to the CBI director and the PM.


Despite ODF status, rural Gujarat still needs lakhs of toilets




Ahmedabad | Months after being declared as ‘Open Defecation Free’ (ODF), Gujarat still has requirement of lakhs of toilets in rural households, according to a reply to an RTI query.

In Dahod, as of May-June this year, 1.40 lakh families are yet to get toilets under the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission-

Gramin’ scheme, the district administration said in reply to the application filed by RTI activist Hitesh Chavda.

Besides, 17,874 families in Vadodara, 26,687 in Chhota Udepur, 14,878 in Kutch, 34,607 in Sabarkantha, 27,180 in

Patan, 19,526 in Mahisagar and 21,320 in Amreli districts do not toilets at their homes.

Officials say that such requirements are expected to come up every year because of the branching out of families into separate units.

The Gujarat government spent Rs 2,893 crore on construction of over 32 lakh toilets since 2014, after the Union government’s scheme was launched. Of this, Rs 1,778.96 crore was sanctioned by the Centre, the state rural development department said in the reply.

Toilets will have to be constructed for many more years before every rural household gets its own facility, the department’s commissioner and secretary, Mona Khandhar, told PTI.

“As new families get formed, adult daughters, sons get married, brothers get separated, and they have separate homes.So, this kind of requirement is expected,” she said.

The government expects that every year there will be new requirements for 3 to 5 per cent of total rural households, which will be about two lakh or so, she said.

“Over a period of time it may reduce to one lakh, but we are expecting this requirement and have also made arrangements for the additional requirement,” Khandhar said.

The Gujarat government has already sanctioned construction of one lakh additional toilets in rural areas this year after the state was declared ODF, she said.

Khandhar said her department along with the World Bank and the Quality Council of India will monitor implementation of the government’s project to ensure there are no lapses.

The Union government had informed the Lok Sabha in February this year that 11 states, including Gujarat, have been declared as ODF under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

However, in a survey conducted in eight districts of Gujarat, nearly 30 per cent of houses were found to have no toilets, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in a report tabled in the state Assembly last Wednesday.

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Railways spent Rs 13.46 crore on inaugurations via video conferencing




Mumbai |The Ministry of Railways spent Rs 13.46 crore on inauguration of various rail projects and services via video conferencing between November 2014 and September 2017, according to a reply to an RTI query.

The expenditure was incurred on 166 events, including inauguration through video link of new trains, escalators, foot over-bridges, waiting halls, VIP lounges and toilets built at different stations, the RailTel Corporation of India said in reply to city-based RTI activist Manoranjan Roy.

The RailTel Corporation, an ICT (information and communication technology) arm of Railways, said the government spent Rs 13.46 crore on these inaugurations between November 9, 2014 and September 3, 2017, when Suresh Prabhu was the railway minister.

The corporation is tasked with arranging technical logistics for video conferencing, mainly laying broadband connection from the venue to the nearest station, a railway official said.

“The other logistics like stage, curtains, flowers, refreshments, sound, lights and LED screens are arranged by the local railway administration,” he said.

Kailash Verma, a member of Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee (ZRUCC), the Western Railway’s panel of commuters, said such expenses are unnecessary and wastage of taxpayers’ money.

However, a Western Railway official said the ministry has been investing huge sums to ensure better facilities and comfort to travellers.

“In the last four years, the Railways has invested huge money for passengers’ comfort and witnessed a quantum jump in the execution of projects. In this comparison, such expenses (on inauguration) are not so high,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

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Take views of IFAs before executing proposals: Delhi government to secretaries




New Delhi | The Delhi government has asked principal secretaries and secretaries to take the views of “integrated financial advisers” before executing proposals of their departments.

The finance department has issued an office memorandum to all head of department’s asking them to adopt the practice of engaging integrated financial advisers (IFAs).

It has asked department heads to take the views of the advisers in budget formulation, expenditure management, procurement, contract, screening of proposals among others.

The move came after it was observed that the proposals being sent to the finance department do not contain views of IFAs according to relevant rules and provisions.

“Roles and responsibilities of IFAs have been clearly spelt out in various communications of both the state government and the government of India, as well as in the delegation of Financial Power Rules, 1978,” Principal Secretary (Finance) Renu Sharma said in the office memorandum.

In the memorandum, Sharma said, “All administrative secretaries are hereby requested to involve the integrated financial advisers in all proposals of the department, which have clear economic and financial implications.”

On screening of proposals, she said IFAs would be responsible for examining all proposals before referring them to the finance department with their specific recommendation on the proposals as per relevant rules.

“IFAs would continue to be responsible for expenditure management. They should be closely associated with the formulation of schemes and important expenditure proposals from the initial stage,” the principal secretary said.

Regarding budget formulation, she said IFAs would continue to be responsible for budget formulation and they may ensure that the schedule for preparation of budget is adhered to and the budget is drawn up according to the instructions issued from time to time.

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