The Bombay High Court on Tuesday upheld the interim bail granted to former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar, rejecting the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) arguments against their release.” with something like “Bombay HC OKs Bail for Kochhar Couple in Videocon Loan Case.
Bail Upheld, Arrest Questioned:
In January last year, a bench led by Justice Revati Mohite-Dere questioned the CBI about the delay in its investigation since the FIR was filed in 2019. The court also granted interim bail to the Kochhars, who were arrested on December 23, 2022, stating that their arrests did not comply with certain sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
Arguments and Counterarguments:
Senior advocate Amit Desai, representing Chanda Kochhar, argued that she had cooperated with the CBI and her arrest violated CrPC provisions. He highlighted that no female police officer was present during Chanda’s arrest and that Deepak was not involved in ICICI Bank’s affairs.
On the other hand, Advocate Kuldeep Patil, representing the CBI, argued that the interim order only considered the arrest memos and not the case diary, which allegedly showed the Kochhars’ non-cooperation.
Ongoing Legal Battles:
Chanda Kochhar has also filed a petition challenging the sanction granted by ICICI Bank to prosecute her in the CBI case, as per the Prevention of Corruption Act. This petition is pending before the court.
In a separate matter, a division bench of the court previously upheld a single-judge bench’s decision to deny interim relief to Chanda Kochhar regarding entitlements and retirement benefits after her early retirement from ICICI Bank in 2018.
ICICI Bank and Chanda Kochhar have faced regulatory scrutiny since allegations surfaced that Dhoot provided funds to a firm set up with Deepak and others, shortly after his company received a loan from the bank in 2012.