NEW DELHI: In the season of huge bank frauds, the husband of high-flying ICICI bank head Chanda Kochhar has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a delayed action over complaints of fraudulent deals. Deepak Kochhar, a businessman, was questioned for several hours during the day in connection with an alleged money laundering deal between the ICICI bank and the Videocon group.
A criminal case against the husband and wife, as also Videocon group’s Venugopal Dhoot, had been filed under the money laundering provisions a year and a half ago. This related to corrupt deals involved in the sanctioning of Rs 1,875crore of loan by the ICICI bank. While ICICI bank is a private sector entity, several Public Sector banks owned by the government are also facing similar situations of huge corruption and of underhand deals by bank managers and businessmen with politicians in power extending support and cover-up facilities.
Enforcement sources were quoted as saying that they were also probing some other major suspected fraudulent money laundering deals at the behest of Kochhar(s) involving the ICICI bank and Sterling Biotech in one case, and with Bhushan Steel group in another case. The CBI is concurrently doing another investigation.
Notably, while many of the banking frauds, involving bad loans of the order of over Rs 10 lakh crore, happened during the term of the UPA-II. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who promised to get back the money thus funelled abroad by greedy businessmen, and parked in tax havens in Mauritius and elsewhere, could not do much so far in this respect, though he has tightened laws in relation to such deals and improved the scenario to a small extent. Still, money in banks are up for grabs, in one manner or the other, due to lack of proper vigil, or indulgence in corruption by those at the helm of banks, with support from corrupt politicians.
Dr Manmohan Singh, as then prime minister, despite his deep understanding of the banking sector and functioned as finance minister in the past, did not make any serious attempt to stem the rot, and sat back in his chair, as per allegations.
There is no guarantee however that the case against the Kochhars will progress to its logical conclusion. Indian legal system has enough loopholes for such criminals to escape through fighting cases and obtaining relief through courts. IHN-NN
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