Videocon loan case: CBI had almost closed preliminary probe against former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar

New Delhi: Just weeks before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked former ICICI Bank chief executive officer (CEO) Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar in an alleged loan sanction case, the country’s premier investigating agency had already decided to close the preliminary enquiry (PE) against the duo and Videocon group boss Venugopal Dhoot for want of concrete proof, says an Economic Times report.

According to the report, deputy inspector general Jasbir Singh and Superintendent of Police Sudhanshu Mishra, who were part of the investigation, had agreed on the recommendation made by investigating officer DJ Bajpei in December last year that there was limited evidence against the Kochhars. To recap, Chanda Kochhar had quit the bank in October last year, six months before her current tenure was to end.

The financial daily mentioned that the acting CBI director M Nageswara Rao reversed the initial recommendation and gave the green signal for lodging a first information report (FIR) in the Rs 3,250-crore Videocon loan case.

It is worth mentioning here that Sudhanshu Mishra was transferred to Ranchi, a day after filing the FIR in the case against Chanda Kochhar and Venugopal Dhoot.

“The IO had stated in his report submitted in December to his seniors that following the complaint, documents relating to the case were studied,” an official privy to the information told ET on condition of anonymity. The publication quoted the unnamed official as saying that a few people, including Chanda Kochhar’s brother-in-law Rajiv Kochhar, were quizzed during the course of the scrutiny and due to lack of reliable evidence to convert the complaint into an FIR was found and hence the complaint was closed by him.

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Meanwhile, Union Minister Arun Jaitley last week advised the investigating agency to avoid “adventurism” and concentrate only on the bull’s eye. He wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter: “ … One of the reasons why our conviction rates are poor is that adventurism and megalomania overtakes our investigators and professionalism takes a back seat.”