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Bombay High Court Grants Interim Bail To Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot

Sharmeen Hakim
20 Jan 2023 5:28 AM GMT
Bombay High Court Grants Interim Bail To Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot

The Bombay High Court on Friday granted Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot interim bail in a plea alleging illegal arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The interim order was passed by Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Prithviraj Chavan.

In his petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, Dhoot has sought quashing of the special CBI court’s remand orders of 26, 28 and 29 December, 2022 and asked the high court to declare his arrest in gross violation of Sections 41 and 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and Article 14, 19(1)(d) and 21 of the Constitution of India.

The same bench had earlier granted interim bail to Venugopal’s co-accused ex-ICICI bank MD Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar observing that non-confession of an accused doesn't amount to non-cooperation, and an accused must be released forthwith if arrest doesn’t satisfy Section 41 CrPC.

Dhoot was arrested after the Kochhars and booked under Sections 7, 13(2) r/w 13(1) & (d) of PC Act, 420 & 120 B of IPC in the case being investigated by CBI

The Case

The CBI began investigating the accused in January 2018 after reports that Videocon's Dhoot paid a firm - he had allegedly set up with Deepak and two relatives, six months after his firm got a Rs 3,250 crore loan from ICICI Bank in 2012.

The irregularities were with regard to the grant of six high-value loans worth around Rs 1,575 crore to five firms of the Videocon Group between June 2009 and October 2011. The loans were granted in contravention of the rules and policy of sanctioning committee, the agency has alleged.

These loans were later termed as non-performing assets resulting in wrongful loss to ICICI bank and wrongful gain to the borrowers and accused persons, the CBI said. The total misappropriation is to the tune of Rs.1,730 crore as of April 26, 2012, according to the agency.


Advocate Sandeep Ladda along with Advocate Viral Babar had pointed towards Dhoot’s 'arrest memo' to submit that the only reason cited is that he "kept changing his versions and therefore not cooperating with the investigation."

Ladda submitted that the loans taken from ICICI bank in 2009 were repaid by 2012. To demonstrate cooperation, he had said the ED didn’t find it necessary to arrest him in the money laundering case pertaining to the same loan transaction and that he appeared before the ED over 31 times.

Advocate Ladda had told the court that Dhoot was summoned on December 15 but he was unable to appear due to health reasons, however, he did go before the agency on December 22, 2022.

But, Senior Advocate Raja Thakare for CBI submitted that the ED investigation could not be compared to the CBI investigation as there are other charges like Section 120B (conspiracy), and offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act that the CBI is investigating.

On the point that there was an at least three-year delay in arrest, Thakare said the agency needs to make an arrest only after it has enough material. "There are innumerable transactions woven in such a manner ... at that particular stage, the entire material would not have been available with the agency."

He added that the CBI gets the custody of the accused only for a limited period therefore the time must be used prudently.

Thakare disagreed with Dhoot's submission on cooperation. "They were all called to be confronted with each other on 22nd December but all of them didn't appear together. He remained absent on 23nd because he knew he would be confronted with the Kochhars."

He argued that the CBI lost crucial days of Kochhar's custody because Dhoot didn't turn up even on December 25, 2022. CBI submitted they complied with Section 41A of the CrPC and that Dhoot's release would jeopardize the probe.

Moreover, Dhoot had no cash flow when seeking ₹300 crore loan from ICICI bank, the court was told.

Click Here To Read/Download Judgement

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