September 9, 2023
Finance International

Venugopal Dhoot: How a ‘loan scam’ led to Videocon owner’s downfall

Venugopal Dhoot, one of India’s best-known business tycoons, was arrested earlier this week – nearly four years after India’s federal investigation agency filed a case of criminal conspiracy and fraud against him.

His detention came on the heels of the arrest of former ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar and her husband.

Deepak for an alleged fraud where it is claimed that Kochhar sanctioned high-value loans to Dhoot’s company in 2009 in exchange for investment in her husband’s renewables business.

ICICI is India’s third-largest lender and Kochhar, an iconic CEO, was seen as a poster woman for the banking industry.

Kochhar and her husband have denied allegations of quid pro quo, saying the investment from Dhoot’s company was a genuine one.

These arrests mark a crucial turning point in a case that has seen its first arrests since the alleged offences were recorded by investigators in January 2019.

According to local media reports, Dhoot, who has been denying the allegations, has offered to turn approver (give evidence).

“This could open a Pandora’s box,” Arvind Gupta, an ICICI shareholder who blew the whistle on the alleged scam in 2016”.

“The investigation is a start in the right direction, but its scope needs to be widened since Kochhar wasn’t the only person on the ICICI credit committee that approved the loan,” Mr Gupta said.

He added that the complexity of the alleged fraud would require inter-departmental coordination between all of India’s investigative agencies to get to the bottom of the case.

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