CBI transfers ICICI-Videocon case investigating officer

New Delhi: A day after the CBI booked former ICICI Managing Director Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and industrialist V.N. Dhoot in the Rs 3,250-crore loan case on January 22, the agency transferred its investigating officer Sudhanshu Dhar Mishra to its economic offences wing in Ranchi.

An agency source said that Mishra, a Superintendent of Police in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and was part of the Banking and Securities Fraud Cell (BSFC), was transferred to the agency’s Economic Offences wing on January 23.

On January 22, the CBI had booked Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar and Dhoot besides four companies — NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd (NRL), Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL), Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and Videocon Industries Ltd (VIL) — in connection with the case.

The source said that Mohit Gupta replaced Mishra as the new investigating officer of the case. “The raids were carried out at four locations in Maharastra’s Mumbai and Aurangabad under Gupta’s supervision on January 24.”

Referring to the reasons for transfer of Mishra, the agency source said: “ICICI loan case is one of the very important cases that was pending without progress. The preliminary enquiry (PE) was earlier registered after review sometime ago.

“The PE was sped up and converted into a regular case (RC) or FIR. Immediately after the registration of the RC, searches were proposed to be conducted soon. However, it was suspected that there was a possibility of information regarding searches being leaked. A discreet inquiry was conducted and the role of Mishra was strongly suspected,” he said.

“Hence Mishra has been transferred pending detailed inquiry in the matter being serious,” he said.

The source added that the role of Mishra in keeping this case pending and others, if any, is being looked into.

The CBI had instituted a PE on March 31, 2018, against Deepak Kochhar, Videocon Group officials and others to determine whether any wrongdoing was involved in the sanctioning of loan by the ICICI Bank as part of a consortium.

Following the CBI FIR, Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who is undergoing treatment in the United States had on Friday blasted the CBI for naming the “who’s who of the banking industry” without concentrating on the “bull’s eye”.

“There is a fundamental difference between investigative adventurism and professional investigation,” Jaitley wrote in a Facebook blog post blaming the CBI for casting the net too wide.