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Deepak Kochhar: Down with Covid-19, Deepak Kochhar seeks to be shifted to a private hospital


New Delhi: Deepak Kochhar on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court seeking to be transferred from AIIMS Jhajjar to a private hospital of his choice.

Kochhar’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal informed the High Court that the federal agency has moved Kochhar from AIIMS Delhi to AIIMS Jhajjar for treatment of Covid-19. Kochhar was tested Covid-19 positive on September 14. He was remanded to custodial interrogation of ED on September 8 by a Mumbai Court.

Arguing on behalf of Kochhar, Advocate Aggarwal demanded that Kochhar be shifted to either Medanta, Appollo or any private hospital of “his choice” and at “his expense”.

Appearing on behalf of Enforcement Directorate (ED), Advocate Amit Mahajan informed the Court that the agency has no objection in Kochhar being moved to a private hospital provided Deepak gets treated at his own expense.

However, Mahajan raised the issue of jurisdiction contending that since Deepak Kochhar is currently in “judicial custody” of the Mumbai Court, it is only the Mumbai Court which can pass directions in this regard.

Aggarwal contended that Deepak Kochhar tested Covid-19 positive while he was in the custody of ED. He argued that Deepak Kochhar was kept in Chanakyapuri police station, Delhi at night in the company of three to four inmates.

Aggarwal informed the Court that ED interrogated Deepak Kochhar during the day in its Khan market office. But since ED has no lockup of its own, it moved Deepak Kochhar to Chanakyapuri police station at night where Deepak Kochhar allegedly contracted Covid-19 since there are no social distancing norms in the police lockups.

The High Court refused to entertain Deepak Kochhar’s plea on the ground of jurisdiction observing that the “constructive custody” in the instant case is of the Mumbai Court (Magistrate).

Granting Deepak Kochhar the liberty to move a Mumbai Court seeking the same relief, the Delhi High Court allowed Kochhar to withdraw his petition.

ET on Thursday reported that a Mumbai court has shifted Deepak Kochhar to judicial custody, on a request by the Enforcement Directorate after the businessman in its custody tested positive for Covid-19.

On September 8, the court had remanded Kochhar in the ED’s custody till September 19 for interrogation. He tested positive for the infection on September 14 and the agency admitted him to AIIMS in New Delhi for treatment.

Since this meant losing out time granted by the court to interrogate him, the ED sought his treatment under judicial custody so that it could get his custody back once he recovered from the disease.

While the court accepted the plea to shift the custody to judicial from police, it ordered on September 14 that he be produced before it within two days of testing negative and his discharge from hospital “for further necessary order”.

The federal agency is probing a money-laundering case against the businessman and his wife, former ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kochhar. The case is linked to alleged quid pro quo in loan transactions between ICICI Bank and the Videocon Group.

Besides ED, the Central Bureau of Investigation is investigating the alleged quid pro quo deal.

THe CBI has accused Kochhar of receiving “illegal gratification” from Videocon through her husband for sanctioning a term loan of Rs 300 crore. ED had registered a money laundering case last February after CBI had booked the Kochhars and Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon.

The Kochhars and Dhoot have denied the allegations levelled by both the CBI and ED.

During her questioning by the ED last year, Chanda Kochharhad denied any wrongdoing and said the loan approval was a collective decision and not that of an individual.

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