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CBI arrests ex-ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar, husband in ₹3250 crore loan fraud case 6 years after 1st complaint

CBI arrested former ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar in New Delhi six years after the first complaint.

Chanda Kochhar

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested former ICICI Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar in New Delhi six years after the first complaint.

The CBI arrested the couple on Friday, December 23 in connection with the ₹3,250 crore Videocon loan scam after it alleged cheating and irregularities in loans sanctioned by ICICI to the Videocon group between 2009 and 2011 when Kochhar was heading the bank. 

Kochhar, who was denied any retirement benefits by the bank, had quit as CEO and Managing Director in October 2018 over allegations that she favoured Videocon Group and even got benefitted from the dealings, 

However, Kochhar in a statement said, “I reiterate that none of the credit decisions at the bank are unilateral…the organisation design and structure obviate the possibility of conflict of interest.”

The CBI had booked the couple and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon Group, along with companies Nupower Renewables, Supreme Energy (owned by Kochhar’s husband), Videocon International Electronics Ltd and Videocon Industries Limited as accused in the FIR registered under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI alleged that Dhoot allegedly invested crores of rupees in Nupower months after the Videocon Group got ₹3,250 crore as loan from ICICI Bank in 2012, which amounted to criminal conspiracy and cheating, the probe agency said.

Bloomberg said while the case was originally registered in Mumbai, the central agency will decide whether it should produce both Chanda and Deepak Kochhar in Delhi court or not. It further stated, “In whistleblower complaints, it was alleged that NuPower Renewables, a company owned by Kochhar’s husband, had engaged in a series of transactions with Dhoot’s Videocon Group between 2008 and 2013. While the complaints had originally emerged in 2016, they came up again in 2018 after The Indian Express newspaper covered it in detail.”

Also read: Karnataka says boundary dispute closed chapter; CM Bommai accuses Sanjay Raut of acting like ‘Chinese agent’

Crime

Moscow-Goa flight with 240 passengers on board diverted amid bomb threat; 2nd incident in two weeks

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Radhika Dhawad | Panaji
A Goa-bound chartered flight (AZV2463) operated by Azur Air from Russian capital Moscow revived a bomb threat.

Representational image

After authorities at Dabolim Airport received an email that claimed that a Goa-bound chartered flight (AZV2463) operated by Azur Air from Russian capital Moscow with 240 passengers on board had a bomb. Cops said the flight was diverted to Uzbekistan in the wee hours of Saturday.

A senior police official said the flight was scheduled to land at the Dabolim airport in South Goa at 4:15 am. He said the flight was diverted before it entered the Indian air space.

He said, “It was diverted after an email was received at 12.30 am by the Dabolim airport director that mentioned about a bomb being planted on the plane,” the official said.

However, this is not the first incident; nearly two weeks before, a same airline’s Moscow-Goa bound flight made an emergency landing at Gujarat’s Jamnagar airport following a bomb threat.

The plane, which had made an emergency landing, had 236 passengers aboard. A statement by the Russian Embassy read, “The Embassy was alerted by the Indian authorities about the alleged bomb scare on the Azur Air flight en route from Moscow to Goa. The aircraft has made an emergency landing at Jamnagar Indian Air Force Base. Everyone on board is safe. The authorities are conducting a thorough inspection of the aircraft.”

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Crime

Nagpur Police to interrogate 5 men who were in touch with main suspect | Nitin Gadkari threat call case

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Radhika Dhawad | Nagpur
Nagpur Police would be questioning five people all of whom were in touch with the main suspect Jayesh Pujari who threatened Nitin Gadkari.

Nitin Gadkari

Nagpur Police would be recording the statements of five people all of whom were in touch with the main suspect and notorious gangster Jayesh Pujari – who allegedly made three threat calls to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. 

Nagpur Police will interrogate the five in question at Belagavi and their statement will be recorded under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The CrPC section 164 deals with recording of statements and confessions at any stage before the commencement of an enquiry or trial. Also, statements made before a magistrate under the section is admissible during a trial.

All the five men are residents of Karnataka who were contacted by Pujari from the same mobile phone that the latter had to use make the alleged threat call to the senior BJP leader. 

However, Pujari, a native of Mangaluru, who has denied his involvement in the case, was sentenced to death by a court in a murder case in the past. 

Nagpur Police said as per Call Detail Record (CDR) of the number that was used to threaten Gadkari, Pujari had made phone calls to the five men who are now in soup.

Pujari had allegedly threatened to kill Nitin Gadkari by making the three threat calls illegally using a cellphone while he was lodged in Belgaum Jail at Karnataka.

Pujari, claiming to speak on behalf of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, allegedly threatened to kill Gadkari in an explosion if he didn’t pay him ₹100 crore. Nagpur Police said, “He threatened to harm the minister with a bomb if his demand is not met. The caller also shared his mobile number and the address in Karnataka where he said the money must be sent.”

The caller did the same though a phone call on the landline number of his Public Relations Office (PRO) at Khamla in Nagpur (around one kilometre away from his residence) at 11:25 am, 11:32 am, and 12:30 pm on Saturday, January 14. 

The employees of the office alerted the police after the threat call, where in the caller also threatened to blow up Gadkari’s office. Nagpur Police immediately beefed up the security outside Gadkari’s office and residence. 

In 2016, Pujari had even escaped after breaking the jail. The gangster, in the past too, had threatened several senior officers and other people in a similar manner. 

Also read: Congress spokesperson quits ahead of Bharat Jodo Yatra’s last leg in Kashmir

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REVEALED: Notorious gangster Jayesh Pujari used cellphone inside jail to threaten Gadkari

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Radhika Dhawad | Nagpur

Nitin Gadkari

A notorious gangster named Jayesh Pujari had threatened to kill Union Minister Nitin Gadkari by allegedly making the three threat calls illegally using a cellphone while he was lodged in Belgaum Jail at Karnataka. 

In 2016, Pujari had even escaped after breaking the jail. The gangster, in the past too, had threatened several senior officers and other people in a similar manner. 

Earlier in the day, an unidentified extortionist (now identified as Jayesh Pujari), claiming to speak on behalf of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, threatened to kill Gadkari in an explosion if he didn’t pay him ₹100 crore.

The caller did the same though a phone call on the landline number of his Public Relations Office (PRO) at Khamla in Nagpur (around one kilometre away from his residence) at 11:25 am, 11:32 am, and 12:30 pm on Saturday, January 14. 

The employees of the office alerted the police after the threat call, where in the caller also threatened to blow up Gadkari’s office. Nagpur Police immediately beefed up the security outside Gadkari’s office and residence. 

Moreover, the senior BJP leader, who already has a Z plus security cover, has several public programs lined up for the day. The police are investigating the matter ever since the complaint from Gadkari’s office. Rahul Madane Deputy Commissioner of Police said, “Speech analysis of the caller is being done.”

As per preliminary investigation, it was learnt that the calls were made from Karnataka. Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar, who was in Pune earlier this morning, rushed back to Nagpur post the threat calls. However, a team of Nagpur Police has been immediately sent to Belgaum for further investigation.

Also read: All flyovers in Nagpur to remain shut tomorrow | Makar Sankranti

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