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ED arrests Deepak Kochhar in a money laundering case

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Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday arrested Deepak Kochhar in connection with a money-laundering case registered nearly a year and half ago against the businessman and his wife, former ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kochhar.

Kochhar was arrested after the latest round of questioning pertaining to fresh evidence that the agency has stumbled upon recently, people in the know said. Kochhar was confronted with documents that the people said were related to a money trail concerning his company, NuPower Renewables.

The ED’s money-laundering case is based on a first information report filed by the CBI against the Kochhars, Videocon Group chairman Venugopal Dhoot and six others. The CBI has accused the former bank chief of allegedly receiving “illegal gratification” through her husband from Videocon for sanctioning a term loan. The Kochhars and others had denied the allegations.

“All this while, Kochhar has maintained that the funds received by NuPower from Videocon was a business transaction and has nothing to do with ICICI Bank sanctioning a loan around the same time. He has denied allegations of quid-pro-quo. There is fresh evidence on the money trail between NuPower and Videocon and Kochhar was quizzed about the same,” said an official privy to the development. “Since he was not cooperating in the investigation, he was placed under arrest,” added the official.

In January, this year, the ED had provisionally attached assets worth Rs 78 crore including a south Mumbai apartment of the couple, attributing those to be proceeds of crime. The ED’s adjudicating authority has yet to confirm the attachment.

The Kochhars are being probed also by the income tax department and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office.

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