New Delhi: The Bombay High Court has allowed the release of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, who was arrested by the CBI last month in a money laundering case, and her husband, saying they were not arrested under the law.
Former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar were arrested by the CBI last month. Chanda Kochhar was being investigated by the CBI for alleged abuse of power when he was the CEO of ICICI Bank and had given a Rs 3,250 crore loan to the Videocon group in violation of norms. An arrest was made in this regard.
Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar filed a case in the Bombay High Court challenging the CBI’s arrest. When this case came up for hearing before the vacation session, they ordered, “There is no urgency in this case. Therefore, the petitioners can approach the High Court in this regard when the court is functioning normally after the vacation.” They adjourned until today (Jan. 9).
During the trial, the Kochhars argued, “Our arrest was illegal under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which requires prior permission before conducting an investigation. The CBI did not obtain any such prior permission.” “The female officer was not present when Chanda Kochhar was arrested,” his lawyers said.
Deepak Kochhar’s lawyers said, “Notices have been issued under Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code and the couple has been thoroughly interrogated. They have all appeared for interrogation when called by the CBI. Therefore, there is no need for arrest.”
The CBI denied the allegations and the Kochhars appeared when called for questioning. But body language and step-by-step responses that avoid questions cannot be considered cooperation. Also during the arrest process of such high level corruption offenses the accused should not be physically touched while being taken for trial. He was verbally informed of his arrest before the investigating officer. He was thoroughly frisked by a female constable,” it said.
In this situation, the Bombay High Court, which gave its judgment in the case today, said that the arrest was not carried out according to law and allowed the release of both Chanda Kochhar and Deepak Kochhar.
Meanwhile, it is to be noted that both the couples had filed separate petitions seeking interim bail to attend their son’s wedding scheduled to take place on January 15.