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ICICI Bank managing director and CEO Chanda Kochhar quit the bank on October 4 amid
allegations of a conflict of interest. The Indian Express on March 29 had first reported that
Videocon group promoter Venugopal Dhoot provided crores of rupees to NuPower Renewables Pvt
Ltd (NRPL), a firm he had set up with Chanda Kochhar s husband Deepak Kochhar and two relatives,
six months after the Videocon group got Rs 3,250 crore as loan from ICICI Bank in 2012. He trans-
ferred proprietorship of the company to a trust owned by Deepak Kochhar for Rs 9 lakh,
six months after he received the loan from ICICI Bank.


March 29, 2018
Videocon gets Rs 3250-crore
loan from ICICI Bank, bank
CEO’s husband gets sweet deal
from Venugopal Dhoot
Promoter Venugopal Dhoot forms JV with Chanda Kochhar’s husband, loans Rs
64 crore, then hands him ownership of lending entity for Rs 9 lakh; ICICI Bank
declares Videocon account NPA. Sandeep Singh, Krishn Kaushik report.

From left to right: Managing Director of NuPower Deepak Kochhar, Promoter of Videocon
Group Venugopal Dhoot and CEO and MD of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar.

IN DECEMBER 2008, Venugopal Dhoot of the Videocon remains unpaid and Videocon account was declared
Group set up a company with Deepak Kochhar, hus- an NPA in 2017.
band of ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, and Sources have confirmed to The Indian Express that
two of her relatives; then gave a Rs 64-crore loan to the Dhoot-Kochhar-ICICI web of transactions is being
this company through a fully owned entity before he examined by investigative agencies.
transferred the latter’s ownership to a trust headed by A day after The Indian Express sent a detailed ques-
Deepak Kochhar for just Rs 9 lakh, an investigation by tionnaire to ICICI Bank for its response to its findings,
The Indian Express has found. ICICI Bank issued a press release Wednesday evening
In what raises questions of propriety and conflict of saying “there is no question of any quid pro quo/nepo-
interest, the transfer of the company to Deepak tism/conflict of interest as is being alleged in various
Kochchar happened six months after the Videocon rumours.” It said the Board “reposes full faith” in
Group got a loan of Rs 3,250 crore from ICICI Bank. Chanda Kochchar and added that “malicious and
Almost 86 per cent of that loan (Rs 2,810 crore) unfounded rumours” were being spread to “malign

Copyright © 2018 The Indian Express 2

Sources have confirmed to The Indian Express that the Dhoot-Kochhar-ICICI web of transactions
is being examined by investigative agencies.

the Bank.” Dhoot to Kochhar and then from Kochhar and his rela-
The statement, however, did not address the specif- tives’ Pacific Capital to Supreme Energy, Supreme
ic query from The Indian Express on Deepak Energy became a 94.99 per cent shareholder in
Kochchar-Venugopal Dhoot transactions or the conflict NuPower by the end of March 2010. Kochhar held the
of interest. remaining 4.99 per cent stake in NuPower at the time.

n In November 2010, Dhoot transferred his entire
Consider the sequence of events and transactions, as per holding in Supreme Energy, to his associate Mahesh
records investigated by The Indian Express: Chandra Punglia.

n In December 2008, Deepak Kochhar and Venugopal n Beginning September 29, 2012 to April 29, 2013,
Dhoot set up NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL). Punglia transferred his holding to Pinnacle Energy, a
Dhoot held 50 per cent stake in the company with his trust, where Deepak Kochhar was the managing
family members and associates. Deepak Kochhar and trustee. The total transaction value of the complete
Pacific Capital owned by Deepak Kochhar’s father and transfer of shares from Punglia to Kochhar’s Pinnacle
Chanda Kochhar’s brother’s wife held the remaining Energy trust: Rs 9 lakh.
50 per cent. In effect, Supreme Energy gave a loan of Rs 64 crore
to NuPower and then got subsumed by Pinnacle
n In January 2009, Dhoot resigned as director of Energy within three years.
NuPower and transferred his 24,999 shares in the ICICI Bank did not respond to queries sent by The
company to Kochhar for Rs 2.5 lakh. Indian Express on these financial transactions, share
transfers between Dhoot/Videocon companies and
n In March 2010, NuPower got a loan of Rs 64 crore (as companies run by Deepak Kochhar, and on the issue of
fully convertible debenture) from a company called conflict of interest.
Supreme Energy Private Limited which was 99.9 per But on the issue of loan granted to Videocon Group,
cent owned by Dhoot. the bank said: “In 2012, a consortium of over 20 banks
and FIs where State Bank of India was the facility
n Following a sequence of transfer of shares from agent (Lead) sanctioned facilities to the Videocon

Copyright © 2018 The Indian Express 3

group (Videocon Industries Ltd. and 12 of its sub- interest in your mail are completely baseless and
sidiaries/ associates as co-obligors) for a debt consoli- unfounded.
dation programme and for the group’s oil and gas cap- As a matter of practice, the Bank does not comment
ital expenditure programme aggregating approximate- on client specific issues. However, given the various
ly Rs. 40,000 crore…ICICI Bank sanctioned its share of insinuations in your email, I give below the answers to
facilities aggregating approximately Rs 3250 crore you questions.
which was less than 10% of the total consortium facili-
ty in April 2012.” SECTION A
It further said “The current outstanding against this
loan is Rs 2810 crore and total current exposure to Question 1. In 2012, ICICI Bank has not sanctioned
Videocon group is Rs 2849 crore…The Videocon group loans to the five companies mentioned in your
account has been classified as an NPA during 2017.” mail.The factual details of the loan facilities sanc-
When contacted, Venugopal Dhoot said, “On tioned in April 2012 to the Videocon group are given
January 15, 2009, I resigned as a director of NuPower below:
Renewables and Supreme Energy Private Ltd and sold
at par the 24,996 shares of NuPower and 9,990 shares A. In 2012, a consortium of over 20 banks and FIs
of Supreme Energy held by me, thereby relinquishing where State Bank of India was the facility agent (Lead)
my right, title and interests in the said shares, giving sanctioned facilities to the Videocon group (Videocon
up control and management of Supreme Energy and Industries Ltd. and 12 of its subsidiaries/ associates as
completely disassociating myself from both the co-obligors) for a debt consolidation programme and
Companies all on the same day, as I got too busy with for the group’s oil and gas capital expenditure pro-
my other larger business like oil & gas, telecommuni- gramme aggregating approximately Rs. 40,000 crore.
cation, etc.”
NuPower stated the same in its response to the B. ICICI Bank’s current exposure to the Videocon
email sent by The Indian Express. group is part of this syndicated consortium
However, Registrar of Companies filings of Supreme arrangement.
Energy show that Dhoot owned it until October 2010
and then transferred his share holding to Punglia in C. ICICI Bank sanctioned its share of facilities aggre-
November 2010. gating approximately Rs. 3250 crore which was less
Nupower also said that it has no concern or connec- than 10% of the total consortium facility (including a
tion with ICICI Bank’s lending to companies owned by short-term loan of Rs. 650 crore as a sub-limit) in
Venugopal Dhoot. April 2012.
On the question of conflict of interest, a spokesper-
son for NuPower said: “There is no conflict of interest D. The Information Memorandum (IM) and the ini-
whatsoever and the above transactions have nothing tial due diligence for the financing programme was
to do with any loans processed by ICICI Bank. Pinnacle prepared by the lead arrangers namely SBI CAPS and
Energy trust and Supreme Energy have no business IDBI Bank.
relationship with ICICI Bank.”
As of March 2017, for which latest RoC records are E. After the preparation of the IM by the lead
available, Deepak Kochhar held an aggregate of 43.4 arrangers and after the sanction of the facilities by SBI
per cent in NuPower both as direct holding and and IDBI Bank, the Credit Committee of ICICI Bank in
through Supreme Energy and Pinnacle Energy. 2012 sanctioned its share of facilities in the syndicat-
The remaining holding is with Mauritius-based DH ed arrangement to the Videocon group.
Renewables. As of March 31, 2016, Kochhar along with
Supreme Energy and Pinnacle Energy held 96.23 per F. This committee was chaired by the then
cent. Chairman of ICICI Bank and it included many inde-
While the company came into existence in pendent and working Directors of the Bank. It is
December 2008, it announced net losses in last six important to note that Ms. Kochhar was not the
financial years. In the six years from FY’12 to FY’17, the Chairperson of this committee.
accumulated losses for NuPower amounted to Rs 78
crore. In FY’17 it posted a loss of Rs 14.3 crore. G. The Terms and Conditions offered for these loans
are similar to those offered by the other banks in the
consortium, ruling out the possibility of any special
Detailed responses from ICICI Bank, Venugopal Dhoot below benefit to the borrower by ICICI Bank.
H. Please note that ICICI Bank’s share of the banking
This refers to your email dated March 27, 2017 sector’s exposure to the Videocon group was less than
addressed to Ms. Kochhar and her team. I would like 10% while around 90% of the loans were sanctioned by
to clarify that the purported allegations of conflict of other banks and FIs.

Copyright © 2018 The Indian Express 4

Question 2: The current outstanding against this loan overseen by the Board of the Bank. The proceedings of
is Rs. 2810 crore. the Credit Committee are presented to the Board on a
periodic basis and the Board has clear supervision and
Question 3: In 2012, no loans were granted to Tuskar control on the decisions of the Credit Committee.
Overseas Inc. by ICICI Bank or any of its branches/ sub- Based on the above, it can be observed that there
sidiaries. are multiple functions to appraise, rate and monitor
the credit decisions at the Bank. Accordingly, it can be
Question 4: There is currently no loan outstanding to concluded that there are adequate checks & balances
Tuskar Overseas Inc. from ICICI Bank or any of its in loan appraisal, rating and approval processes within
branches/ subsidiaries. the bank, both from the control as well as from a gov-
ernance perspective. Given this architecture, no indi-
Question 5. The total current exposure to Videocon vidual employee, whatever may be his or her position,
group is Rs. 2849 crore. has the ability to influence the credit decision at the
Question 6. The answer to this is the same as All the details as mentioned above clearly demon-
Question no. 5 strate that there is no conflict of interest as mentioned
in your mail.
Question 7. The Videocon group account has been We do not expect a responsible newspaper like you
classified as an NPA during 2017. to lend your platform to rumours to mar the reputa-
tion of an organisation and an individual. Hence, we
SECTION B strongly urge you not to write or publish anything in
any form of media (print/digital/social media) which
Your other questions do not pertain to us and our projects ICICI Bank and/or its MD & CEO in poor light.
clients, but given the insinuations made in your mail, I Trust this serves to clarify and dispel any misgivings
would also like to state that none of the investors of you may have on the subject. I am willing to speak to
NuPower Renewables are borrowers of ICICI Bank. you tomorrow for any further clarification.

Chairman, ICICI Bank Ltd.
I would also like to inform you that the Bank has a
well-structured and standardised credit approval
process, which includes a well-established procedure NuPower Renewables
of comprehensive credit appraisal, credit approvals At the outset we would like to say that we have no
and monitoring. I am mentioning the details below: concern or connection with ICICI Bank’s lending to
A. The Credit Risk Management Group (CRMG), companies owned by Mr. Venugopal Dhoot.
which is independent of the business groups of the The facts stated in your email are not correct. The
Bank, evaluates and assigns a credit rating to the cred- correct facts are explained below:
it proposals. A borrower’s credit rating is a vital input
for the credit approval process. Every proposal for a Answer no 1:
financing facility is prepared by the relevant business Mr. V N Dhoot resigned from the board of directors
unit and reviewed and rated by the CRMG before of NuPower Renewables and Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd
being submitted for approval to the appropriate on January 15, 2009, and on the same day he sold at
authority. par his 24,996 shares of NuPower Renewables and
also sold to a third party his 9,990 shares of Supreme
B. The Bank’s credit approval authorization framework Energy at par on account of being busy with other
is laid down by the Board of Directors engagements. Hence, he gave up control of Supreme
Energy and completely delinked himself from both
C. The authorisation framework is risk based with the companies’ w.e.f. January 15, 2009. Hence Mr.
lower rated borrowers and/or larger exposures being Dhoot has no concern or interest with Supreme
escalated to higher committees. The larger exposures Energy beyond January 15, 2009.
are approved by the Credit Committee of the Board Supreme Energy’s investments in fully convertible
debentures (FCD) of NuPower Renewables of value Rs.
D. The majority of Credit Committee members are 64 crores were allotted in March 2010.
independent directors of the Bank. At all times, Supreme Energy’s holding, on fully
converted basis, taking into account the equity shares
E. The Chairman of the Credit Committee, till as late and other convertible securities held by other share-
as June 2015, was always a non-Executive Director. holders/investors, was never 95% in Nupower
Renewables. Upon conversion of the FCD in March
F. The functioning of the Credit Committee is closely 2016 and conversion of convertible instruments held

Copyright © 2018 The Indian Express 5

by other shareholders/investors, Supreme Energy’s Loans are sanctioned by Banks including ICICI Bank
equity shareholding was just 10.1%. by a Committee of Directors before whom a detailed
Other than the said 24,996 shares subscribed at the Project Appraisal and Risk Analysis carried out by var-
time of incorporation (which were subsequently sold) ious departments of the Bank are presented for loan
neither Mr Dhoot nor Videocon held any shares in sanction. Hence no individual can indulge in
NuPower Renewables. favouritism. Further, our loan sanctioned by ICICI Bank
The subscription amount of the fully convertible in 2012 was under a consortium of several Banks led
debentures were used towards acquisition of wind by SBI at the same terms as sanctioned by the consor-
power projects. tium Bankers. ICICI Bank took its share of the loan in
the consortium.
Answer no. 2:
Pacific Capital sold 22,500 shares of NuPower 4. These five companies mentioned in your email,
Renewables to Supreme Energy in June, 2009 at par i.e. Trend Electronics Limited, Century Appliances, Kail
(which was at the then fair market value) since at the Limited, Value Industries Limited and Evans Fraser &
time of incorporation Deepak Kochhar had subscribed Company had never ever been disbursed any funds in
to shares and convertible instruments which were April 2012 by ICICI Bank and they have no outstanding
subsequently converted into equity shares in March dues to ICICI Bank or any other banks as on date.
2012. The only funds sanctioned by ICICI Bank in April
2012 was to Videocon Industries Limited, which was a
Answer no. 3: sum of Rs.1500 crore under consortium funding of 20
Pinnacle Energy trust purchased the 9,990 shares of banks with SBI as the lead and the sanction was on
Supreme Energy at Rs. 10 per share from the then the same terms and conditions of the other consor-
existing shareholder on 29thSeptember, 2012 being tium banks. With regard to Tuskar Overseas Inc, the
higher than the fair market value of Rs. 8.82 per share, loan was disbursed in 2006 and there is no outstand-
and then it further invested Rs. 8 lacs to subscribe to ing as on date as it was paid off in 2010. The current
80,000 shares of Supreme Energy in April 2013 at fair loan outstanding from ICICI Bank is only to Videocon
market value by way of fresh investment. Industries Limited, being only Rs.1400 crore, which is
At no time did the Pinnacle Energy trust along with very small compared to other banks.
Supreme Energy ever hold more than 50% of the share
capital of NuPower Renewables (on as converted Part 2
Further to my email to you yesterday, I would like to
Answer no. 4: state that on 15th January, 2009, I resigned as a direc-
There is no conflict of interest whatsoever and the tor of NuPower Renewables and Supreme Energy
above transactions have nothing to do with any loans Private Ltd and sold at par the 24,996 shares of
processed by ICICI Bank. Pinnacle Energy and Supreme NuPower and 9,990 shares of Supreme Energy held by
Energy have no business relationship with ICICI Bank. me, thereby relinquishing my right, title and interests
in the said shares, giving up control and management
Venugopal Dhoot reaction to queries of Supreme Energy and completely disassociating
1. I was invited as an initial Director of NuPower myself from both the Companies all on the same day,
Renewables formed on 24th December 2008 due to as I got too busy with my other larger business like oil
my experience in Solar Energy projects and subscribed & gas, telecommunication, etc.
to 24,996 shares of NuPower at par. The said 9,990 shares of Supreme Energy duly sold
However, on 15th January 2009, i.e. within 20 days I on 15th January, 2009 were handed over to the pur-
resigned as a Director of NuPower Renewables and chaser along with transfer deed on the same day and
sold at par the 24,996 shares of NuPower, and com- the consideration for the same was immediately
pletely disassociated myself from NuPower received by me from the purchaser.
Renewables on that day, as I got too busy with my Therefore I have no connect with the business of
other larger business like oil & gas, telecommunica- Supreme Energy nor Nupower Renewables since
tion, etc. 15thJanuary, 2009.
As explained above the initial 24,996 shares held by
2. Besides the 24,996 shares of NuPower held by me me in NuPower Renewables were sold at Rs. 10 per
and sold off immediately being of value only Rs share. Besides these shares, neither Videocon nor me
2,49,960/-, neither Videocon nor me held any shares held any shares in NuPower Renewables.
in NuPower. Me and my family members did not own For all other information sought in your current
50% in NuPower Renewables at all ever. email, you may kindly contact NuPower Renewables
for the same.
3. The allegation of conflict of interest is substance- With best regards,
less and denied. V N Dhoot

Copyright © 2018 The Indian Express 6

April 3, 2018

ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar

Chanda Kochhar’s brother-in-law advised
ICICI borrowers on their foreign loans
Avista Advisory, founded by Rajiv Kochhar, brother-in-law of Chanda Kochhar,
got mandate to restructure foreign currency-denominated debt deals worth
over $1.7 bn of 7 companies. Sandeep Singh, Krishn Kaushik report

WHILE ICICI BANK CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar’s brother-in-law of Chanda Kochhar, got the mandate to
husband Deepak Kochhar’s transactions with restructure foreign currency-denominated debt deals
Videocon promoter Venugopal Dhoot are under the worth over $1.7 billion of seven companies over the
scanner of investigative agencies, another potential last six years. All these companies were borrowers of
conflict-of-interest link has emerged, this time with a ICICI Bank at the same time.
Singapore-based financial services company founded In at least one of these deals, ICICI Bank was the
by Deepak Kochhar’s brother. lead bank of the lenders.
Avista Advisory, founded by Rajiv Kochhar, who is the According to disclosures made by Avista Advisory,

Copyright © 2018 The Indian Express 7

the company acted as an advisor in restructuring debt requirement of any disclosure of such a relationship
of Jaiprakash Associates, Jaiprakash Power Ventures, by any official of the Bank…In view of all the above,
GTL Infrastructure, Suzlon, JSL and Videocon Group. your insinuation of conflict of interest is totally base-
In 2017, Avista acted as “Debtor Advisor” in the less and malafide in intent.”
restructuring of foreign currency convertible bonds Responding to questions mailed to Rajiv Kochhar by
(FCCB) of Jaiprakash Associates amounting to $110 The Indian Express, Avista Advisory said: “There is no
million. While Avista advised on the FCCBs, ICICI Bank conflict. The entire process of selection of “Debtor
was the lead bank in the consortium of banks that Advisor” was competitive. We were chosen as a
lent to Jaiprakash Associates. “Debtor Advisor” in the restructuring of the FCCBs of
Avista also acted as “Debtor Advisor” in the restruc- Jaiprakash Associates Limited, Jaiprakash Power
turing of $200-million FCCB of Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited and GTL Infrastructure Limited. In
Ventures Ltd. In this case, too, ICICI Bank was a lender these restructuring transactions, the “Debtor” of the
to the company and also received equity under the FCCBs were the respective Companies and the
corporate debt restructuring package. “Creditor” were the respective Foreign Currency
FCCB is a convertible bond issued in a foreign cur- Convertible Bondholders who are “Foreign Investors”
rency. Market experts say that in many cases of in these FCCBs. Avista advised the Companies in the
stressed assets in India, these were issued to prevent a negotiation with these Foreign Investors in order to
default in the domestic market. restructure the FCCBs. Since the FCCB restructuring
In 2014, Avista was the “Creditor Advisor” for the transaction did not involve any negotiations between
restructuring of $577-million worth of FCCB of Suzlon. the Companies and the “Domestic Lenders/ICICI
In the case of Suzlon, ICICI Bank was one of its Bank”, there is no conflict of interest of whatsoever
lenders. nature.”
In November 2012, Avista acted as “Debtor Advisor” It further said, “There were no dealings with ICICI
for FCCBs worth $306 million for GTL Infrastructure. Bank at all in any of the above transactions…We
ICICI Bank was a lender to GTL Infra and took 29.3 per would like to clarify that in the restructuring cases
cent stake in the company in July 2011 as part of the handled by Avista Advisory, the firm has not interact-
loan restructure. ed with ICICI Bank in any manner or form. Further
Another case where Avista acted as “Debtor during the course of the restructuring transactions
Advisor” was to Jindal Stainless in 2016 which was Avista has not raised or mobilized any funds for its
also a borrower of ICICI Bank. clients from ICICI Bank. Avista was involved in discus-
Avista mentions two loan restructuring deals sion and negotiation only between the Indian
involving the Videocon Group on its website. Avista Company and the Foreign Creditors.”
acted as “Creditor Advisor” for two FCCB deals of On the Videocon case, Avista said: “In the two
Videocon Industries worth $194 million and $97 mil- Videocon deals referred in your email, Avista was
lion in 2015 and 2016 respectively. appointed by the Foreign Creditors (i.e. the Foreign
Responding to a questionnaire from The Indian Investors in the FCCBs issued by Videocon) to restruc-
Express, an ICICI Bank’s spokesperson said: “We ture and recover the investment made by them in the
would like to categorically state that ICICI Bank has FCCBs. Accordingly, Avista acted as the “Creditor
never engaged Avista Advisory Group for any services Advisor” and was not the advisor to the Videocon
at all. Your mail itself indicates that the said entity Group. We would also like to clarify that we repre-
claims to be an advisor to various corporates. You may sented the Foreign Investors and did not represent any
refer any query regarding Avista Advisory Group to Domestic Lenders/ICICI Bank. These Foreign Creditors
the firm and its clients.” who had invested in the FCCBs include some of the
The spokesperson added: “Kindly also note that the leading Global Institutional Investors who had
brother of a husband does not fall within the defini- appointed Avista in order to assist them to restructure
tion of a “relative” under the Companies Act, 1956 or and recover the amounts invested by them in the
2013 or the Rules thereunder. Hence there is no FCCBs.

● ● ●

Copyright © 2018 The Indian Express 8

April 26 , 2018
Essar promoter kin’s firm
invested in Chanda Kochhar
husband’s company
NuPower, promoted by Deepak Kochhar, husband of Chanda Kochhar, between
2010 and 2012 got investments of Rs 325 crore from Mauritius-based Firstland
Holdings, a company owned by Nishant Kanodia, son-in-law of Essar Group
co-founder Ravi Ruia. Sandeep Singh, Krishn Kaushik report

WHILE INVESTIGATING agencies are probing invest- in 2010 and 2011. This investment was sold in 2013 to
ments by a Mauritius-based company into NuPower a private equity fund and Firstland recovered its full
Renewables, the company promoted by Deepak investment.” The company added: “None of the
Kochhar, husband of Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO of Kanodia group companies have any loans from ICICI.”
ICICI Bank, between 2010 and 2012, records of the In its response, Essar Group said it had “not made
Registrar of Companies show that NuPower got invest- any investments in Firstland or NuPower.” Records
ments of Rs 325 crore from Mauritius-based Firstland show that Essar Capital Holdings Limited did invest Rs
Holdings, a company owned by Nishant Kanodia, son- 163.54 crore in Matix Chemicals and Fertilisers, a sub-
in-law of Essar Group co-founder Ravi Ruia. sidiary of Firstland Holding. This came in tranches: Rs
The investments from Ruia’s son-in-law’s firm into 96.76 crore in December 2010 and Rs 66.78 crore in
NuPower started in December 2010. Incidentally, the August 2011.
same month ICICI Bank was lead banker in a consor- Asked about these, an Essar Group spokesperson
tium of Indian banks that extended a $530-million said, “Essar entities have business dealings with Matix
loan to Essar Steel Minnesota LLC on December 29, Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. on arm’s length basis,
2010. This loan was later classified as NPA. and these have no connection whatsoever with
n December 29, 2010: ICICI Bank, as mandated lead While ICICI Bank did not respond to a specific query
arranger, extended loan of $530 million to Essar Steel on whether Chanda Kochhar informed the board
Minnesota LLC on behalf of the consortium about her husband’s financial dealings with kin of
Essar Group promoters and if she recused herself from
n December 31, 2010: Firstland Holdings invested Rs the loan approval process, it said, “With regards to
49.90 crore in NuPower. your query on Essar Steel Minnesota, we would like to
inform you that a consortium of seven Indian banks
n August 3, 2011: Firstland invested Rs 8.69 crore in including ICICI Bank had sanctioned loans to the enti-
NuPower ty. Also, large US funds gave loans to the company. Out
of the total debt of the company of USD 1.02 billion,
n October 3, 2011: Firstland invested Rs 99.25 crore in ICICI Bank’s share was less than 25%. Due to various
NuPower factors, the loan facilities provided to this project were
classified as nonperforming by all lenders. The resolu-
n March 21, 2012: Firstland invested Rs 166.5 crore in tion process pursuant to the same is under process.”
NuPower It also said: “We categorically state that ICICI Bank
has never sanctioned any loan to Matix Fertilisers and
Responding to queries, Kanodia’s office said, Chemicals Ltd.” Queries sent to NuPower did not elicit
“Firstland Holdings had made investments in NuPower a response.

Copyright © 2018 The Indian Express 9

June 21 , 2018
More conflict of interest?
Mumbai house of Kochhars has
Videocon connection
Income Tax probes acquisition of CCI Chambers apartment in Mumbai by
husband of ICICI Bank’s Chanda Kochhar. Khushboo Narayan reports

The CCI Chambers in South Mumbai: This is where the Kochhar family lives.

THE INCOME Tax department is probing the acquisi- the transaction involving the acquisition of the flat at
tion of the current family residence of Chanda 45, CCI Chambers CHS Limited — it is in the
Kochhar, the CEO and MD of ICICI Bank, in South Churchgate area opposite the Cricket Club of India —
Mumbai by her husband Deepak Kochhar in a com- and has informed the Central Board of Direct Taxes
plex transaction involving firms linked to Videocon (CBDT) about its findings so far.
Group, sources have told The Indian Express. On March 29, The Indian Express first reported that
The link between Videocon and the residence of the Videocon promoter Venugopal Dhoot provided crores
Kochhars reinforces questions of propriety and con- of rupees to NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRPL), a
flict of interest that have dogged Chanda Kochhar and firm he had set up with Chanda Kochhar’s husband
are now the subject of an “independent” probe and two relatives six months after the business group
announced by the ICICI Bank. On Monday, the bank got Rs 3,250 crore as loan from ICICI Bank in 2012.
said she will be on leave until the probe is completed. Dhoot transferred proprietorship of the company to a
The tax department, sources said, is now probing trust owned by Deepak Kochhar for Rs 9 lakh, six

Copyright © 2018 The Indian Express 10

months after he received the loan from ICICI Bank. RoC documents show that Quality Appliances was
The Videocon account was declared an NPA or a bad set up in 2008 with Vilas Salunke and Kavishwar Patil
loan in 2017. holding 5,000 equity shares each. The firm’s registered
Tax authorities have found that the Kochhar fami- address was in Andheri in suburban Mumbai, which
ly’s residence since 1998 was bought through was also the head office of Videocon
Credential Finance Ltd, a financial services firm set up Telecommunications Ltd.
by Deepak Kochhar and his brother Rajiv Kochhar in Both Salunke and Patil have been directors of vari-
the mid-1990s, sources said. ous Videocon Group firms such as Videocon Industrial
Due to financial stress, the company filed for liqui- Finance Ltd, Videocon VCR Securities Ltd, Videocon
dation and was suspended from trading in 1996-97. Mining Ltd, Videocon Securities Ltd, Pacific Appliance
Seven members of the Kochhar family and Videocon Manufacturing and Trading Ltd, Dhoot Entertainment
International had a stake of 2 per cent and 17.74 per and Gaming Solutions Ltd and V N Communication
cent, respectively, in Credential Finance as on 2001. Systems Ltd.
In 2009, Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL) nominated According to the RoC documents, in 2009-10,
Quality Appliances Pvt Ltd, a firm with links to the Quality Appliances acquired an office premises for Rs
Videocon Group, to take over the flat from Credential 3.54 crore, and changed its registered office address in
Finance in lieu of the final settlement of the amount the official records from Andheri to 45, CCI Chambers
due to VIL from Credential Finance, sources said. in South Mumbai.
According to the agreement, Credential Finance In March 2010, three companies promoted by
transferred the property to settle the money it had Videocon Industries — TekCare India Pvt Ltd, Evans
taken from VIL. “After 2010, the same flat was re- Fraser & Co Ltd and Nippon Investment and Finance
acquired by Deepak Kochhar at a price, which was Company Pvt Ltd — together were allotted equity
lower than the market price,” sources said. shares of 1 lakh at a premium for Rs 3.5 crore and
The tax department, sources said, has recorded the became the majority shareholder of the company
statements of all shareholders and directors of Quality holding 90.91 per cent stake. The remaining stake was
Appliances and Credential Finance in connection with held by Salunke and Patil.
the case. The company, according to its 2011 annual report,
Reached for comment by The Indian Express, said that it “gave performance guarantee in favour of
Deepak Kochhar said he is the owner of the flat at CCI Supreme Energy Pvt. Ltd on behalf of NuPower
Chambers since 1996. “The property belongs to me Renewables Ltd worth Rs 7 crore” that was valid up to
since the beginning, and the conveyance deed and March 31, 2013. Quality Appliances also said that the
share certificate of the property are in my name. I have purchase of the office premises in 2009-10 is shown
given all the clarifications to the department,” he said. as an investment in its accounts.
In an email response to queries from The Indian In 2012, the TekCare India, Evans Fraser & Co and
Express, Venugopal Dhoot said: “The flat at 45, CCI is Nippon Investment and Finance Company sold their
purchased and owned by Mr Deepak Kochhar since 90.91 per cent stake to Patil and exited Quality
the very beginning over 20 years back. The said flat Appliances. This took the total shareholding of Patil to
was never mortgaged to Videocon Industries Ltd. We 95.45 per cent.
have no concern with the said flat.” In 2013, Quality Appliances changed its name to
According to documents with the Registrar of Quality Techno Advisors Pvt Ltd and Patil continued to
Companies (RoC), Quality Appliances Pvt Ltd, which hold 95.45 per cent stake in the firm until March 2016,
owned the flat at CCI Chambers after it was trans- according to RoC documents.
ferred from Credential Finance in 2009, is now known According to the latest available financial docu-
as Quality Techno Advisors Pvt Ltd. The registered ments of March 2017, the firm is owned completely by
office of the firm is 618, Nariman Point in Mumbai, Deepak Kochhar through Quality Advisors (Trust). The
which is also the office of NuPower Renewables Pvt company has also made a provision of Rs 3.5 crore (50
Ltd, the company promoted by Deepak Kochhar. per cent liability) towards the Rs 7 crore guarantee
Quality Techno Advisors is now an advisory firm that it gave in favour of Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd on
owned by Deepak Kochhar. behalf of NuPower Renewables Ltd in 2010-11.

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