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  India   All India  28 Jan 2019  CBI transfers ICICI case IO for info ‘leak’

CBI transfers ICICI case IO for info ‘leak’

Published : Jan 28, 2019, 1:40 am IST
Updated : Jan 28, 2019, 1:40 am IST

Sources claimed an internal discreet inquiry conducted by the agency suggested Mr Mishra’s involvement in giving out information regarding the raids.

Chanda Kochhar
 Chanda Kochhar

New Delhi: The CBI has transferred the investigating officer (IO) in the ICICI Bank case as its “discreet inquiry” pointed to his role in leaking information related to raids, officials said Sunday.

Superintendent of police Sudhanshu Dhar Mishra was transferred to Ranchi a day after filing an FIR in the case against former ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group MD Venugopal Dhoot on January 22, they said.

Details about the sudden transfer of the IO were shared by officials on a day when Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram came down heavily on the probe agency for harassing bankers. He also pointed to the flak that the CBI had invited from Union minister Arun Jaitley for “investigative adventurism”.

CBI officials said the agency had carried out searches at multiple locations after the charge of the case was taken from Mr Mishra and given to the new investigating officer, Mohit Gupta.

Sources claimed an internal discreet inquiry conducted by the agency suggested Mr Mishra’s involvement in giving out information regarding the raids. The agency had carried out searches at the offices of Videocon Group in Mumbai and Nupower Renewables and Supreme Powers, both controlled by Ms Kochhar’s husband, on January 24.

Justifying Mr Mishra’s transfer, the CBI also pinned the blame on him for keeping the preliminary inquiry pending without any reasons.

Though the CBI did not issue any formal statement on the matter, a senior official said, “The ICICI Bank case is one of the very important cases that was pending without progress.”

The official said after a review some time ago, the preliminary enquiry was sped up and was converted into a regular case.

As per the CBI case, after Rs 300 crore was disbursed to Mr Dhoot on September 7, 2008, by the ICICI Bank, the very next day, Mr Kochar’s firm Nupower Renewables received Rs 64 crore from Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL).

Two days after the FIR was filed, Mr Jaitley went on social media against the FIR suggesting it was “investigative adventurism” and a “journey to nowhere.”

Mr Jaitley had also criticised the CBI for planning to question eminent bankers like K.V. Kamath in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case.

Mr Chidambaram slammed the CBI for “indiscriminately targeting” some of the bankers, saying the agency has received “ultimate certificate” on its action from Mr Jaitley, who had criticised it.

In a series of tweets, the former Union minister said he was glad that Mr Jaitley’s conscience and legal acumen have finally stirred to condemn the “indiscriminate targeting of eminent bankers”, in cases where the allegations are about thousands of crores of rupees.

“The CBI has received the ultimate certificate from the one who has the best ring-side seat, the Finance Minister (on leave),” Mr Chidambaram said.

He said the government was in slumber when there was “indiscriminate targeting” of distinguished IAS officers and others, in cases where the allegations are about small sums of money, in an apparent reference to the Aircel-Maxis case in which a number of IAS officers have been named in the charge sheet.

In the ICICI matter, the CBI has alleged that during the tenure of Ms Kochhar six loans worth Rs 1,875 crore were cleared for Videocon Group and its associated companies in which in two cases she herself was on the sanctioning committees.

In its FIR, the CBI has also named several top honchos of banking industry including the present CEO of ICICI Bank Sandeep Baxi alleging that they were also members of the sanctioning committees whose role needs investigation.

New Development Bank chairman Mr Kamath, Goldman Sachs India chairman Sonjoy Chatterjee, Standard Chartered Bank CEO Zarin Daruwala, Tata Capital head Rajiv Sabharwal and Tata Capital senior advisor Homi Khusrokhan need to be investigated, according to the FIR.

Tags: chanda kochhar, venugopal dhoot, icici bank case