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Chanda Kochhar, Deepak Kochhar Likely To Be Released Today

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Mumbai (Maharashtra): ICICI Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar, who were arrested in connection with an alleged multi-crore money laundering scam, are likely to be released from jail on Tuesday.

The Kochhars were granted interim bail in the case on Monday. The Bombay High Court, while allowing interim relief to the former ICICI Bank CEO and MD and her husband, observed that it is incumbent upon the police not only to record reasons for arrest in writing but, even in cases, where the police choose not to arrest.

“It is also incumbent on courts to satisfy themselves that there is due compliance of Sections 41 and 41-A, failing which, the same will ensure the benefit of the person suspected of the offence, entitling the person to be released on bail,” the court observed further.

The order further read that there must be a direct nexus or live link between the material before the officer and the formation of his belief. Thus, there must be a rational connection between the two.

“We may note, that ‘reason to believe’ must be based on credible material and no decision to arrest can be recorded on fancy or whimsical grounds,” the court noted.

“The reason given in the arrest memos to arrest the petitioners, having regard to the facts as stated aforesaid, appears to us, to be casual, mechanical and perfunctory, clearly without application of mind. The ground for the arrest of the petitioners mentioned in the arrest memos is in clear breach of the mandatory provisions of Sections 41 and 41-A and 60-A of Cr.P.C.,” read the order.

The order further stated, “We may note, that we have not gone into the other submissions advanced by Mr Desai, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner- Chanda Kochhar, in particular, the submission, that as per the mandate, a lady officer was not present at the time of the petitioner-Chanda Kochhar’s arrest, in view of the finding recorded by us herein above. For the reasons set out herein above, the petitioners are entitled to be released on bail, pending the hearing and final disposal of the aforesaid petitions.”

The court observed that the arrest of the Kochhar couple was “not in accordance with the law” and, hence, it was allowing them to be released from judicial custody on a cash bail of Rs 1 lakh each.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which arrested the couple on December 23, last year in the Videocon-ICICI loan scam case, had opposed their release.

The case is related to alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in the sanction of a Rs 1,875-crore loan disbursed by ICICI Bank to the Videocon Group between 2009 and 2011.

During its preliminary inquiry, the CBI found that six loans worth Rs 1,875 crore were sanctioned to the Videocon Group and companies associated with it between June 2009 and October 2011, in an alleged violation of the laid-down policies of ICICI Bank.

The agency claimed the loans were declared non-performing assets in 2012, causing a loss of Rs 1,730 crore to the bank.

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