The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to file by Friday its affidavit in response to a petition of Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot, seeking to quash an FIR registered in a bank loan fraud case, to declare his arrest as “arbitrary and illegal” and to be released on bail.
When the plea came up for hearing, advocate Kuldeep Patil asked for one-week time to seek instructions on the same.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and P K Chavan said the agency shall file its affidavit by Friday and posted the petition for hearing the same day (January 13).
Advocate Sandeep Ladda, appearing for Dhoot, sought an urgent hearing and said Dhoot is suffering from “99 per cent blockage in heart”.
The bench said it would have to give the CBI time to file its affidavit.
Two advocates – Subhash Jha and Mathew Nedumpara- sought to intervene in the matter and sought for a recall of the order passed by the same bench on Monday granting interim bail to co-accused – former ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar.
“We are advocates and vigilant citizens of this country and are hence seeking to intervene,” Jha told the high court.
The bench said it would consider on Friday whether the two advocates should be given a hearing.
Dhoot in his plea has sought for the CBI FIR to be quashed and for the probe to be stayed, as well as his release on bail. He was arrested on December 26, 2022, and is presently in judicial custody.
In his plea, Dhoot termed his arrest by the CBI as “arbitrary, illegal, done without following due procedure of law and in gross violation of section 41 (A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which mandates for a notice to be issued to accused to join the probe and to make an arrest only if absolutely necessary”.
The HC in its judgment on Monday granting bail to the Kochhars had come down heavily on the CBI for making the arrest in a “casual and mechanical” manner and without the application of mind.
The central probe agency had named the Kochhars, Dhoot, Nupower Renewables (NRL) managed by Deepak Kochhar, Supreme Energy, Videocon International Electronics and Videocon Industries as accused in the FIR registered in 2019 under Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI has alleged that private sector lender ICICI Bank, headed by Chanda Kochhar from 2009 to 2018, sanctioned credit facilities to the tune of Rs 3,250 crore to these companies in violation of norms.
It further claimed that as a part of quid pro quo (Latin expression literally meaning “something for something”), Dhoot made an investment of Rs 64 crore in Nupower Renewables through Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL), and transferred SEPL to Pinnacle Energy Trust managed by Deepak Kochhar through a circuitous route between 2010 and 2012.