Who is Venugopal Dhoot the industrialist arrested by CBI in ICICI bank loan fraud case?
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Videocon Group founder and chairman, Venugopal Dhoot, from Mumbai on Monday, December 26, in connection with the ICICI Bank loan fraud case.
Dhoot’s arrest comes days after former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar were taken into custody by the CBI to investigate the alleged irregularities in an over Rs 3,000-crore loan given to the Videocon Group at a time when she was heading the private sector lender.
Chanda Kochhar resigned as the bank’s CEO and MD in October 2018 following the allegations that she favoured Videocon Group.
Dhoot and the Kochhars have been named in the FIR registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act in 2019, PTI reported quoting officials.
Who is Venugopal Dhoot?
Industrialist Venugopal Dhoot is the founder and managing director of Videocon, which is primarily engaged in the manufacturing of electronics and appliances. The company also operates in the oil and gas sector.
Dhoot was born on September 30, 1951, and graduated in Electrical Engineering from Pune University. His father Nandlal Dhoot founded Videocon Corporation and Videocon Electronics. The company’s biggest breakthrough came when it received India’s first licence to manufacture colour televisions.
The company grew to have operations in Mexico, Italy, Poland, China and India.
In 2015, Dhoot sold a third of Videocon d2h, a direct-to-home service, to US-based Silver Eagle Acquisition Corp, for around $375 million (about Rs 2,130 crore).
In 2015, he was also named by Forbes magazine as the 61st richest person in India with a fortune of $1.19 billion.
In 2018, state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India Ltd acquired a 10 percent stake from Videocon Group in a giant gas field off Mozambique for $2.475 billion.
The same year, Videocon group also sold its entire stake in US-based Liberty Mutual Insurance Group.
What are the charges?
According to the CBI, several companies of Videocon Group promoted by Dhoot have been sanctioned loans to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore by ICICI Bank in violation of the RBI guidelines, Banking Regulation Act, and credit policy of the bank.
As part of the quid pro quo, Dhoot allegedly invested Rs 64 crore in Nupower Renewables, a company owned by Deepak Kochhar, through a circuitous route between 2010 and 2012.
Chanda Kochhar was a member of the committee that cleared the loan to Dhoot, the CBI has alleged. According to the agency, Chanda Kochhar abused her official position to sanction the loan to Dhoot.