Bombay HC refuses urgent hearing on Deepak Kochhar’s plea in ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case

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The Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused urgent hearing sought by Deepak Kochhar, the husband of former ICICI Bank Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar, on his plea in a money laundering case.

“I am not inclined to give priority to hear such matters,” said Justice Sandeep K Shinde while refusing to hear the plea moved by Deepak Kochhar.

Deepak Kochar is seeking quashing of the proceedings initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the alleged ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case. Deepak Kochhar is challenging the issuance of process by the special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Counsel for Deepak Kochhar, Dadhichi Mhaispurkar told Justice Shinde that the special court that would be conducting the trial had listed the matter for framing of charges on October 1.

He requested that the high court to hear Kochhar’s plea before the hearing begins in the special court. Mhaispurkar argued that the lower court had said that it would go ahead with charge framing if the stay was not imposed by the high court.

In response, Justice Shinde said, “These matters will go on for days why should the trial be stayed? There are matters of 2016-2017 and we are still dealing with [in high court]. Cases from 2018 are still pending. Every matter will come in its due course. What is so special about this case to be heard on priority?”

Kochhar claimed in 2020 that the statutory adjudicating authority under PMLA had clearly stated that the said property under investigation in the case was not proceeds of crime.

However, the ED had suppressed the fact before the special court and got an order in their favour, claimed Kochhar. In light of this, Kochhar sought quashing of the PMLA court order of issuing process.

Mhaispurkar prayed for an urgent hearing before the next date. However, Justice Shinde found no urgency to hear the petition.

“Let the trial court frame charges. Should I hear matters only because trial court will proceed? Every matter is like that. I am not inclined [to hear the matter],” Justice Shinde said.

The matter will now be listed in due course for hearing.

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