Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar move Bombay High Court following arrest

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MUMBAI: Chanda Kochhar the ex CEO of ICICI Bank and her husband Deepak Kochhar approached Bombay High Court vacation bench a day after a trial court extended their police custody following their December 23 arrest by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in an alleged corruption case over high value loans. The couple contended their arrest is illegal and essentially wanted to argue for their interim release and protection of their right to liberty seeking quashing of the remand order.
The HC vacation bench said there was “no urgency” after their lawyer said the plea was for ‘quashing of the remand order’ and added ,” on January 2nd you can take circulation.”
The CBI filed its FIR on January 22, 2019 against the Kochhars, V N Dhoot and Videocon group companies as well as Supreme Energies Pvt Ltd for causing loss over over Rs 1,730 crore to ICICI Bank by sanctioning loans to Videocon Group of Companies in contravention of the Rules and Policies of ICICI Bank.
Their lawyer Kushal Mor mentioned the matter before vacation bench Justices Madhav Jamdar and S G Chapalgaonkar.
He mentioned it after Justice Jamdar reminded their two senior counsel Amit Desai and Vikram Chaudhri the tradition of the HC to enable junior lawyers, not seniors, to mention matters during court vacation. “It is a matter of liberty,” said the senior counsel.
Justice Jamdar smiled and said, “It is not the prerogative of only senior advocates to agitate liberty.”
Mor then said Kochhars were illegally arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act in violation of a clause of prior sanction under section 17A. “When it specifically mandates prior approval of (investigation) “ said Mor when court asked him, when was the arrest? More said on December 23. He added the arrest is also in violation of section 41 A of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which for an offence that attracts up to seven years’ imprisonment requires police to issue a notice to accused to seek an explanation and allows arrest only with written reasons.
The HC asked what was the relief being sought. Mor said “Quashing ” adding interim relief is being sought. The bench said, “Quashing, no urgency.” Mor said, “Quashing of remand order.” He added, “For their release, there is urgency.” The HC said, “for release you can also seek bail in regular court.”
Mor persisted, “When arrest is itself illegal…interim relief is required..”
The HC said the Kochhars could raise the plea on January 2,2023 when the regular court hearing begins after vacation.
Kochhars lawyer seeks urgent hearing say plea is for interim release as arrest is illegal and want quashing of remand order. HC vacation bench says “On Jan 2 you can take circulation.”
It was alleged that during June-2009 to October-2011, ICICI Bank had sanctioned 6 high value loans to various Videocon Group of Companies. On 26th August 2009, Rupee Term Loan (RTL) of 300 Crores was sanctioned to M/s. Videocon International Electronics Ltd and others In contravention of Rules and Policy by Sanctioning Committee, the CBI alleged adding Chanda Kochhar was one of the member of the Sanctioning committee.
Her lawyers informs the special CBI Judge A S Sayyad on Monday that the Bombay HC while granting bail to Deepak Kochhar in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case had said the load was repaid in 2012 and hence prima facie bail granted on merit. Desai also said the ICICI Bank had written to CBI last July said there was no loss caused to the Bank.

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