The central agency has zeroed in on two instances of alleged quid-pro-quo. The first pertain to transactions between Videocon and NRL. According to sources, a day after a term loan of Rs 300 crore was sanctioned by ICICI Bank, Rs 64 crore was transferred by Dhoot to NRL through his company Supreme Energy Pvt Ltd (SEPL).
The second is a similar transaction between NRL and Kanodia’s Firstland Holdings. According to sources, the Essar Group had invested Rs 163 crore in Firstland, which in turn invested Rs 324.37 crore in NuPower between December 2010 and March 2012. Separately, in August 2015, Essar Projects India invested another Rs 250 crore in the cumulative redeemable preference shares of Matix. Kanodia is the son-in-law of Essar Group vice-chairman Ravi Ruia.
“These two instances are clear cut cases of kickbacks received for the loan sanctioned to group companies. On September 7, 2009 RTL (rupee term loan) of Rs 300 crore was transferred to Videocon International Electronics Ltd (VIEL) and the very next day, Dhoot transferred Rs 64 crore to NRL, managed by Deepak Kochhar. As also in the case of Firstland Holdings, these loans were then laundered and brought back into the system through a maze of complex web of transactions.
Our probe is now concentrating on the trail and how it was ultimately used by the Kochhar couple to purchase personal assets,” said the source cited above. The CBI case probing a case of criminal conspiracy and misuse of office against the Kochhars also mentions the transfer of Rs 64 lakh as íllegal gratification.’
On August 26, 2009, the bank under Chanda Kochhar sanctioned a loan of Rs 300 crore to VIEL “in contravention of rules and policy by the sanctioning committee,” the first information report said. “On September 7, 2009, this loan was transferred to VIEL…On September 8, 2009, Dhoot transferred Rs 64 crore to NRL managed by Deepak Kochhar…this was the first major capital received by NRL to acquire its first power plant,” the FIR said.
Deepak Kochhar, VN Dhoot and Kanodia didn’t respond to the queries sent by ET. Meanwhile the ED plans to initiate Letters Rogatory to Mauritius to get more details on Firstland Holding and Matix. LRs are a formal request from a court to a foreign court for judicial assistance. “This will be done during the course of the probe in order to get more details on the dealings,” added the official.
Firstland’s investment in Matix Fertilisers is routed through another Mauritiusregistered entity called Matix Fertiliser Holdings. Documents from the Registrar of Companies (RoC) show NuPower received funding from Firstland Holdings Ltd in the form of compulsory convertible preference shares (CCPS) starting December 31, 2010 in four tranches.