HC reserves order in Chanda Kochhar’s plea questioning her arrest | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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HC reserves order in Chanda Kochhar’s plea questioning her arrest

BySahyaja MS
Jan 24, 2024 08:58 AM IST

Former CEO of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar, has petitioned the Bombay High Court questioning her arrest in connection with alleged irregularities in loans provided to Videocon Group firms. The court has reserved its order on the matter. Kochhar and her husband were arrested in December 2022 but were later released on bail. Kochhar's counsel argued that the arrest was illegal, while the CBI countered by stating that documents could be presented to prove non-cooperation. The CBI had filed charges against Kochhar and others in July 2022.

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday reserved its order in a petition filed by Chanda Kochhar, former chief executive officer and Managing Director of ICICI Bank, questioning her arrest in connection with alleged irregularities in loans provided to some Videocon Group firms.

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HT Image

A bench of justice Anuja Prabhudessai and justice NR Borkar concluded the hearing, focusing on the claim that her arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was illegal.

Kochhar and her husband, Deepak Kochhar, were arrested on December 23, 2022, in connection with the Videocon loan case but were later released on January 9, 2023, with interim bail from the Bombay high court. The Supreme Court directed the high court to expedite the hearing after noting multiple bail extensions.

During the recent hearing, Kochhar’s counsel clarified that they were not insisting on quashing of the FIR but have challenged the bank’s sanction to prosecute her in a separate proceeding. The stand was maintained that the arrest was illegal, violating the mandated procedures under sections 41A (Notice of appearance before police officers) and 46 (How to make arrest) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Kochhar’s arrest was deemed illegal due to her cooperation with the central agency, as noted in the interim order.

The CBI countered, arguing that the interim order only considered the arrest memo and didn’t include the case diary and remand application. They asserted that, with the charge sheet filed, documents could be presented to prove non-cooperation. The CBI claimed there was no bar on a male police officer arresting a female accused, if physical interaction didn’t occur, and the arrest was made in the presence of a female police officer.

The CBI’s FIR in 2019 implicated the Kochhars, Venugopal Dhoot, and companies including Nupower Renewables, Supreme Energy Pvt., Videocon International Electronics Ltd., and Videocon Industries Ltd. The agency alleged that ICICI Bank sanctioned 3,250 crore to Videocon Group companies, violating banking regulations, RBI guidelines, and the bank’s credit policy. The CBI further alleged that in 2009, a committee led by Chanda Kochhar approved a term loan for Videocon International Electronics Ltd., violating bank rules. CBI in July last year had filed its chargesheet in the case.

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