CBI questions NuPower CFO in ICICI Bank case

The central bureau of investigation (CBI) on Wed­n­e­s­day questioned Sunil Bh­uta, chief financial officer (CFO) of NuPower Renewables, a company founded by the husband of ICICI Bank CEO and managing director Chanda Kochhar, in connection with an Rs 3,250 crore loan from the bank to the Videocon Group in 2012, officials said here.

Bhuta, who has been associated with NuPower Renewables since its inception, was questioned at the age­ncy headquarters here, they said. According to the website of the company, Bhuta has been “responsible for overall finance, accounts, audit and taxation function for NuPo­w­er since inception”.

The loan came under sc­a­nner after reports questi­oned it linking it to a possible quid pro quo that Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot allegedly had with Nu­Power Renewables, a fi­rm founded by Deepak Koc­hhar, Chanda Kochhar’s hu­s­band. The CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry against Videocon founder Venugopal Dhoot and Deepak Kochhar and unidentified others, they said.

A preliminary inquiry is the first step by the CBI to gather information about the allegations. If the agency is convinced that there exists prima facie material in the matter, it may register a regular case against the accused. Agency officials said they were also studying relevant documents of the transaction and if they came across any evidence that indicated wrongdoing, Deepak Koc­hhar along with others could be summoned for detailed questioning.

They said the statements of nodal officers of ICICI Bank, who were part of processing the loan of about Rs 3,250 crore, had been recorded as part of the PE registered six weeks ago. The PE has named Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot, Deepak Kochhar and unknown others, they said.