SC pulls up CBI on Kochhar’s repeated interim bail extension | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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SC pulls up CBI on Kochhar’s repeated interim bail extension

Oct 11, 2023 07:34 AM IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for not objecting to the repeated extension of the two-week interim bail granted to former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar

The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for not objecting to the repeated extension of the two-week interim bail granted to former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar and her businessman husband Deepak Kochhar in January in connection with an alleged loans-kickbacks case.

The Supreme Court pulls up CBI for not objecting to the repeated extension of the two-week interim bail granted to former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar. (PTI)
The Supreme Court pulls up CBI for not objecting to the repeated extension of the two-week interim bail granted to former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar. (PTI)

The top court pointed out that the federal agency appealed against the January 9 order of interim bail granted to the couple by the Bombay high court, but seemed to have raised no objection to the extension of the reprieve, which continues till date.

“This order is of January 9 and interim bail was granted for only two weeks. Why have you not resisted? Why are you permitting it to continue for such a long period? According to us, this plea has become infructuous because the impugned order was for only two weeks. You should have moved an objection there (high court),” observed a bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi.

If the agency was truly aggrieved by the order of bail, it should have resisted all subsequent orders of extension before the high court, the bench said. “You should have resisted there instead of coming here. Why are you allowing it to continue till date? This seems to be continuing with your consent,” the court told additional solicitor general SV Raju, who appeared for CBI.

Raju said he would request his counterpart in Mumbai to approach the high court by filing an application.

The bench then posted CBI’s plea for October 16, asking Raju to seek instruction on what needs to be done when the January 9 order has already been superseded by subsequent orders of extension of bail.

Chanda Kochhar is being investigated by the CBI as well as the Enforcement Directorate for her alleged role in granting out-of-turn loans worth 3,250 crore to the Videocon Group, which benefitted her husband, Deepak Kochhar. She was sacked in 2019, even though ICICI Bank had previously approved her resignation in October 2018. CBI arrested the Kochhars on December 23, 2022. CBI also named Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot as a co-accused in the case.

On January 9, the high court criticised CBI for arresting the couple in a “casual and mechanical” manner and “clearly without application of mind” in the case, and granted them interim bail. It added that the Kochhars’ arrest was not in accordance with law and that they were entitled to be released on bail pending the hearing and final disposal of their petitions.

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