The Supreme Court on Monday declined to interfere with the Bombay High Court order, which granted bail to Deepak Kochhar, husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, in a money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
On March 25 last year, a single judge bench of the high court had granted bail to Kochhar in the money laundering case, noting that there was no likelihood of him absconding or tampering with evidence. It had asked him to cooperate with the probe.
Kochhar moved the high court after a special Mumbai court declined to entertain his bail plea in December 2020. The ED moved the Supreme Court challenging the high court order.
On Monday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the ED, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana that legal issues raised in the plea should be kept open for adjudication in an appropriate case.
The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, while dismissing the ED appeal, took note of Mehta’s submissions.
“Having heard learned Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the petitioner and carefully perusing the material placed on record, we see no reason to interfere with the impugned order passed by the High Court granting bail to respondent No.1 (Kochhar) herein.
“The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed. As a sequel to the above, pending interlocutory application also stands disposed of. However, the question of law is kept open to be decided in an appropriate case,” the court said in its order.
The high court had directed Kochhar to surrender his passport before the special court in the city hearing the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases. In September 2020, the ED had arrested Kochhar in the alleged ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case.
The agency had registered the case following an FIR by CBI against the Kochhar couple, Videocon Group promoter Venugopal Dhoot, and others for allegedly causing loss to the ICICI Bank.
The matter was in connection with the sanctioning of loans to the Videocon Group of companies by breaking the bank’s policies.