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Videocon loan fraud case: Venugopal Dhoot claims his arrest was unnecessary; CBI says he was evading probe

A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and PK Chavan after hearing both Dhoot's lawyer Sandeep Laddha and CBI's counsel Raja Thakare reserved its order on interim relief.

Videocon loan fraud case: Venugopal Dhoot claims his arrest was unnecessary; CBI says he was evading probe
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First Published Jan 13, 2023, 4:00 PM IST

The lawyer of Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot on Friday (January 13) argued before the Bombay High Court that the industrialist's arrest in the ICICI Bank loan fraud case was unwarranted as he was cooperating with the probe.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI claimed that he was trying to avoid probe. On December 26, 2022, Dhoot was arrested by the CBI and is presently in judicial custody. Dhoot moved the high court seeking to quash the First Information Report (FIR), and has also sought interim bail.

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A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and PK Chavan after hearing both Dhoot's lawyer Sandeep Laddha and CBI's counsel Raja Thakare reserved its order on interim relief.

Advocate Laddha argued that Dhoot had appeared before the CBI "31 times" since a `preliminary enquiry' (PE) was registered in December 2017.

"Dhoot was never arrested in the case. Even when the charge sheet was filed, Dhoot had appeared before the concerned court which granted him bail noting that he had been co-operating with the probe," the lawyer said.

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In December 2022, Dhoot had appeared before the CBI twice. "On two other dates (December 23 and 25) he could not appear as on December 23 he had been already summoned by the Enforcement Directorate," the lawyer said.

"The CBI is holding this non-appearance for two days as non-co-operation. On December 25, the CBI issued Dhoot a notice....he appeared on December 26 and was arrested," the lawyer said.

CBI counsel Raja Thakare said Dhoot was summoned in December 2022 so as to confront him with co-accused Chanda Kochhar, former MD and CEO of ICICI Bank; and her husband Deepak Kochhar, both of whom were arrested on December 23.

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The CBI named Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot along with Nupower Renewables (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Ltd as accused in the FIR registered in 2019 under Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

As part of 'quid pro quo' (something given in return for favour) for the loans sanctioned to Videocon Group firms, Dhoot invested Rs 64 crore in Nupower Renewables through Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL), and transferred SEPL to Pinnacle Energy Trust managed by Deepak Kochhar through a circuitous route between 2010 and 2012, the CBI alleged.

(With inputs from PTI)

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