Bombay HC Grants Interim Bail To Videocon Group Founder Venugopal Dhoot In ICICI Bank Loan Case

New Delhi: The Bombay High Court granted interim bail to Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot on Friday, nearly a month after his arrest, according to PTI. He was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on December 26 2022 in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan fraud case.

The division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and P K Chavan granted bail to Dhoot on a surety of Rs 1 lakh. The court permitted him to furnish cash bail and then deposit the surety amount two weeks later.

The bench refused to stay CBI’s request to stay its order so that it could approach the Supreme Court.

The bench also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the advocate.

Dhoot had approached the high court soon after the same bench had on January 10 granted bail to the Kochhars who were arrested on December 23, 2022.

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According to advocate, Dhoot’s arrest was unwarranted as he cooperated in the probe. However, CBI said that Dhoot attempted to avoid the probe and hence the arrest was legal.

The Bombay HC heard all the arguments and closed it for orders on January 13.

Dhoot, presently in judicial custody, had sought the HC to quash the CBI FIR and sought to be released on bail by way of an interim order, as per PTI.

In his plea, Dhoot termed his arrest by CBI as “arbitrary, illegal, done without following due procedure of law and in gross violation of section 41 (A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which mandates for a notice to be issued to accused to join the probe and to make an arrest only if absolutely necessary”.

While granting bail to the Kochhars, PTI reported, the high court had come down heavily on the CBI for arresting in a “causal and mechanical” manner and without application of mind.

According to the CBI, private sector lender ICICI Bank sanctioned credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore to Videocon Group in violation of the Banking Regulation Act, Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines, and the credit policy of the bank.

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

The CBI has alleged that the ICICI Bank sanctioned credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore to these companies in violation of norms. Further allegations included that as a part of quid pro quo, Dhoot made an investment of 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.