Venugopal, chairman of Videocon group caught on corruption charges, CBI files case

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New Delhi: CBI has registered a case against Videocon Group President Venugopal Dhoot for alleged corruption. Officials gave information about this matter. They said that Dhoot is accused of corruption with the collusion of unknown officials of a group of State Bank of India (SBI) -led banks in financing his oil and gas assets in Mozambique.

The investigating agency has registered an FIR after a preliminary investigation on a complaint by the Oil Ministry.

Investigations found that Videocon Hydrocarbon Holding Ltd (VHHL), a subsidiary of Videocon Industries, acquired a 10 per cent participating interest in the oil and gas block in Mozambique from the US company Anadarko in the Roma Region 1 block in Mozambique.

The Mozambique-based asset was later bought by ONGC Videsh Limited and Oil India Limited in January 2014. In April 2012, a group of banks led by SBI provided a ‘Standby Letter of Credit’ (SBLC) facility for the development of their oil and gas assets in Mozambique, Brazil and Indonesia. Also, other requirements of finance allocation were also fulfilled in this regard.

ICICI Bank and IDBI Bank were also included in this group of banks. However, a portion of this debt was ‘re-finance’, including a $ 400 million bailout to Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), London.

After about 10 months, VIL told the group that SCB’s debt had increased, requested to pay it and took charge of the oil and gas asset. The group allegedly approved the increased amount without investigation.

The agency alleged, “The facts and prima facie circumstances show that the unknown officers of the lending banks, led by SBI, conspired with Dhoot to allow VHHL to continue to avail the facility from SCB.” In this way, Videocon benefited unfairly and Indian PSU banks were unfairly harmed. ‘

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