Editorial- July 15, 2016

This is an amazing convertibility story – how the rich line-up loans and investments for the spouse of a famous banker, make him the owner of big assets and claim no share in it. Truly, Business made easy. This is the story of Deepak Kochhar’s Renweable Empire, built on ‘unclear’ Mauritius route investments and loans from Dhoot and others. And his family owned Trusts – Pinnacle Energy owns 95 pc of this business, the Mauritian investors have no shareholding. Mr Kocchar is the husband of ICICI Bank MD & CEO, Chanda Kochhar.

Mr Kochhar’s company, NuPower on its website makes the loud and showy statement as such companies usually do, “To contribute to the energy security of India & combat climate change by actively participating towards achieving India’s target of 160 GW of wind & solar power by 2022.” Definitely, Mr Kochhar was liberally secured by the Dhoots and a string of Mauritian investors.

NuPower began its journey in December, 2008 as a 50:50 joint venture company. Called NuPower Renewables Ltd (NRL), this was the venture of Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot in his personal capacity with Pacific Capital Services Ltd, owned by members of Kochhar family. Mr Deepak Kochhar had just one share in NRL but soon thereafter Mr Kochhar was issued 19.97 lakh warrants of Rs 10 each at par value. He was to pay Rs 1/share only upfront, the remainder Rs 9/per share was to be paid at the time of conversion of warrants into equity. So, on a payment of Rs 19.97 lakh he became the owner of the company. Such was the talent of Mr Kochhar in preparing DPRs and acquiring assets in slump sale that this arrangement was justified! Then the Dhoots resigned and their employees came in as Additional Directors.

Money was required for the slump acquisitions; it came largely from the Dhoots. Two years later, the ICICI Bank granted Rs 3,250 crore loan to five companies of Videocon group. ICICI’s UK and Canada branches provided a further loan of Rs 660 crore to a Cayman Island based Videocon group’s company Tuskar Overseas Inc which the ED has stated has no bonafide business.

And for expansions, money came in through the Mauritius route as CCPS in several tranches. This was channeled initially through a company called Firstland Holdings Ltd, N.A. and then later the money route was changed to another company named, DH Renewables. All this, the company claims went in as equity for setting up 100.5 MW additional Wind Energy Projects in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu for which 70 pc debt financing from Banks & FIs was also raised. For details read our cover story.