A special court on Friday granted bail to Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot in a case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) concerning alleged money laundering concerning his company and the ICICI Bank.
Special Judge, Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases, A.A. Nandgaonkar granted conditional bail on a Rs 5 lakh bond to Dhoot, who has been ordered to surrender his passport to the ED, not to travel abroad without the special court’s permission and appear before the probe agency, whenever required.
Arguing for bail, Dhoot’s lawyer Sandeep Ladda contended that his client was in poor health, had been fully cooperating with the probe agency and has no plans to leave the country till the cases against him are pending.
Dhoot also claimed that neither he nor his family have benefitted through the alleged crimes they are charged with, all their assets/properties are mortgaged with banks and he does not own any asset directly or indirectly in India or abroad.
He further said that while had not caused any losses to any of his debtors, he was himself a victim and sustained losses due to the cancellation of 21 telecom licences.
Dhoot added that he had to sell off his other profitable businesses to repay the outstandings and the amounts were directly credited to the debtors.
On January 30, the special court had issued summons to Dhoot, ICICI Bank’s ex-CEO and Managing Director Chanda Kochhar, and her husband Deepak Kochhar after taking cognizance of the ED chargesheet.
While Chanda Kochhar appeared before the court and was later granted bail, her husband remains in judicial custody since his arrest by the ED in September 2020.
Following a complaint lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the ED had filed a FIR against the Kochhars and Dhoot alleging money-laundering and other charges.
The ED contended that from a loan amount of Rs 300 crore sanctioned to Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) by a committee of the ICICI Bank – then headed by Chanda Kochhar, a sum of Rs 64 crore was transferred by VIEL to Deepak Kochhar’s Nupower Renewables Pvt Ltd on September 8, 2009, just a day after the loan was disbursed.