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Published On: Sun, Jan 27th, 2019

CBI transfers Chanda Kochhar case investigating officer S D Mishra

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Chanda-Kochhar_reuters-1-1NEW DELHI : The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing the role of one of its own officers for allegedly leaking information on the ICICI bank fraud case. Sudhanshu Dhar Mishra has already been transferred to the agency’s Economic Offences branch in Ranchi and a detailed inquiry will be held on the matter, sources said.
The filing of the case against Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon chief Venugopal Dhoot – allegedly involved in massive irregularities in obtaining a loan for the Videocon Group — had drawn criticism from Union minister Arun Jaitley, who called it “investigative adventurism”.
A day after the CBI booked former ICICI Mandnging Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and industrialist V.N. Dhoot in the Rs 3,250-crore loan case on January 22, the agency transferred its investigating officer Sudhanshu Dhar Mishra to its economic offenses wing in Ranchi.
According to  source Mishra, a Superintendent of Police in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and was part of the Banking and Securities Fraud Cell (BSFC), was transferred to the agency’s Economic Offences wing on January 23. The source said that Mohit Gupta replaced Mishra as the new investigating officer of the case. “The raids were carried out at four locations in Maharastra’s Mumbai and Aurangabad under Gupta’s supervision on January 24.”
Referring to the reasons for transfer of Mishra, the agency source said: “ICICI loan case is one of the very important cases that was pending without progress. The preliminary enquiry (PE) was earlier registered after review sometime ago.
“The PE was sped up and converted into a regular case (RC) or FIR. Immediately after the registration of the RC, searches were proposed to be conducted soon. However, it was suspected that there was a possibility of information regarding searches being leaked. A discreet inquiry was conducted and the role of Mishra was strongly suspected,” he said.”Hence Mishra has been transferred pending detailed inquiry in the matter being serious,” he said.
The CBI had instituted a PE on March 31, 2018, against Deepak Kochhar, Videocon Group officials and others to determine whether any wrongdoing was involved in the sanctioning of loan by the ICICI Bank as part of a consortium. Following the CBI FIR, Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who is undergoing treatment in the United States had on Friday blasted the CBI for naming the “who’s who of the banking industry” without concentrating on the “bull’s eye”.
“There is a fundamental difference between investigative adventurism and professional investigation,” Jaitley wrote in a Facebook blog post blaming the CBI for casting the net too wide.  This is the second instance where the CBI is investigating one of its officers for alleged irregularities. In October, the agency had booked its number 2 officer Rakesh Asthana for allegedly accepting bribes from one of the suspects in a case. It led to a huge controversy that laid bare the infighting going on between the agency’s two top officers.
The ICICI bank fraud case was one of those pending without progress for long. Investigating officer Mishra — who was part of the Banking and Securities Fraud Cell — had signed off on the case on Wednesday. Sources in the CBI told that there was suspicion that the officer was delaying the case and an investigation was launched against him on January 22, a day before the case against the Kochhars was filed.
Immediately after registration of the case, searches were to be conducted. There was however suspicion, that information about the searches were being leaked. The searches were finally conducted under the supervision of another officer, Mohit Gupta. The Kochhars and Venugopal Dhoot allegedly obtained a loan for the Videocon Group through massive irregularities and channelled part of it into a firm founded by Deepak Kochhar, suggesting a quid pro quo. Mr Dhoot invested crores in Mr Kochhar’s NuPower Renewables, the agency said.
Ms Kochhar – who was part of the team that decided to grant the Rs. 3,250 crore loan — quit in October as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of ICICI Bank after allegations that her family benefited from the deal.(With Agency Inputs).

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