Deepak Kochhar (File photo)
Deepak Kochhar (File photo)

PMLA Adjudicating Authority dismisses ED's application regarding attached assets of Kochhars

ANI | Updated: Nov 13, 2020 13:13 IST

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], November 13 (ANI): In an alleged misappropriation in the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan matter, the PMLA Adjudicating Authority has dismissed an application filed by the Enforcement Directorate seeking attachment of a residential flat belonging to the Kochhars and various wind power assets belonging to Nupower Renewables Pvt. Ltd. and its subsidiaries. ED had also attached cash of Rs 10.5 Lakhs.
Acting Chairperson of Adjudicating Authority Tushar V Shah in the order stated that "the possibility of a trial taking a long time cannot justify the apprehension that the assets are being concealed or transferred. The revelation of modus would not lead to frittering of proceeds of crime during the pendency of the further investigation, as the nature of assets concerned and absence of attempt, cannot justify the invocation of emergency provisions of the second proviso of PMLA."
"For the reasons flat of Churchgate, Mumbai, held in the name of Deepak Virendra Kochhar is not involved in money laundering. Authority also noted that the seized cash of Rs. 10.5 lac is also not involved in money laundering. For reasons hereinbefore recorded the provisionally attached assets of M/s NuPower Renewables Pvt. Ltd. and its subsidiaries namely M/s NuPower Windfarms Ltd. and M/s Echanda Urja Pvt. Ltd. are also not involved in money laundering, order copy stated.
In March 2019, the ED had provisionally attached Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar's south Mumbai flats, assets movable and immovable of Nupower Renewables and Rs 10.5 lakh in cash which was kept in the bank. The Kochhar couple had challenged the order of the deputy director before the adjudicating authority.
Appearing for Kochhar's Advocate Vijay Aggarwal and Ashul Agarwal argued that Provisional Attachment Order [PAO] and the application filed by ED merely contain a mechanical reproduction of the words in the statute or fictional fear without there being any apparent basis and material on record to arrive at any such 'reasons to believe' that the properties are being concealed, transferred or dealt with, which is a mandatory pre-requisite or condition precedent for exercise of powers under the 2nd proviso of Section 8 PMLA.
Adv Vijay Aggarwal further argued that ED has to follow CBI as ED proceeds on the basis of the scheduled offence registered by CBI which is investigating the allegations of alleged corruption and in the present case when CBI has not even filed a final report, how could ED proceed to attach assets based on the same facts.
Adv. Aggarwal argued that ICICI Bank has a very robust, committee based collective decision-making process for Corporate credit approvals wherein no individual much less Chanda Kochhar being the MD & CEO can independently approve/sanction corporate credit proposals. Various officials from multiple independent departments are involved in the detailed due-diligence process, recommendation and approval of Corporate loan proposals.
Kochhar's lawyer also argued that Chanda Kochhar had no involvement in the origination, processing, or the detailed due diligence carried out by various departments of the loan to VIEL. She had no Veto Power in any Committee.
Recently Deepak Kochhar bail was rejected by a Mumbai special court and the ED has also filed a charge sheet against Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot and others in PMLA. (ANI)