Indian court grants bail to ICICI Bank ex-CEO Chanda Kochhar

ICICI Bank's CEO Chanda Kochhar listens to a speaker at a news conference in Mumbai

MUMBAI (Reuters) -An Indian court on Monday granted bail to former ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kochhar and her husband after they were arrested in December in connection with an alleged loan fraud case involving the bank and Videocon Group

Kochhar was one of India's highest-profile business leaders before she was ousted as ICICI CEO in 2019 following allegations that the bank, under her watch, sanctioned "high value" loans to Videocon in violation of its lending policies.

In return, Videocon's owner invested in NuPower Renewables, founded by Kochhar's husband Deepak, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleges. The agency arrested Videocon Chairman Venugopal Dhoot late last month.

All the parties have denied the allegations of loan fraud.

The Bombay High Court on Monday ordered that the Kochhars be released on bail.

It said the arrests, done by the CBI alleging that the Kochhars had been not been cooperating with the investigation, were "not in accordance with law".

"The ground for arresting the petitioners as stated in the arrest memos, is unacceptable and is contrary to the reason(s)/ground(s) on which a person can be arrested," said the order by judges Prithviraj K. Chavan and Revati Mohite Dere.

The Kochhars will be released on cash bail of 100,000 rupees ($1,214) each "for a period of two weeks".

($1 = 82.3600 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Jayshree Pyasi and Arpan Chaturvedi; Writing by Sudipto Ganguly and Sakshi Dayal; Editing by Krishna N. Das)