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ICICI loan case: I-T department quizzes Venugopal Dhoot

IANS | Mumbai |

The Income Tax (I-T) Department in Mumbai has quizzed Videocon Group Chairman-cum-Managing Director Venugopal Dhoot in connection with its ongoing investigations into the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan case, official sources said here.

Dhoot was responding to summons issued by the I-T Department recently and was questioned by officials at its south Mumbai office for around four hours on Tuesday.

The probe pertains to suspected tax evasion in the Rs 3,250-crore loan sanctioned by ICICI Bank in 2012 to the Videocon Group.

However, when contacted by IANS, a top I-T official declined to reveal details on grounds that “further investigations in the matter are still underway.”

Earlier, the I-T had also questioned Deepak Kochhar, chief of NuPower Renewables Pvt. Ltd, in the same case.

The I-T is examining the links between the Videocon Group and NuPower Renewables Pvt. Ltd. promoted by Kochhar, who is the husband of ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar.

More than a month after conflict-of-interest allegations emerged against her, Chanda Kochhar had on May 7 said that the private lender works under and abides by all regulatory norms and that it has been fully cooperating with regulatory and investigative agencies.

Asked about the possibility of a third-party audit on the Videocon issue, Kochhar said: “As the Board had earlier said that we have been extending full cooperation to the regulatory and investigative agencies, and that we will continue to cooperate with them.”

Earlier ICICI Bank Chairman M.K. Sharma said the bank’s exposure to the Videocon Group (Videocon Industries and 12 of its subsidiaries or associates as co-obligors) for a debt consolidation programme and for the group’s oil and gas capital expenditure programme aggregating approximately Rs 40,000 crore was less than 10 per cent.

He had clarified that none of “the investors of NuPower Renewables are borrowers of ICICI Bank”.