India´s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday booked Videocon group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot for alleged corruption in the financing of their oil and gas assets in Mozambique.
According to the Indian press, the move follows a preliminary enquiry on a complaint from the Oil Ministry and the chairman of Videocon group is accused of acting in connivance with unidentified officials of a State Bank of India-led consortium.
The enquiry findings show that in 2008 Videocon Hydrocarbons Holding Ltd (VHHL), a subsidiary of the Videocon Industries Limited (VIL), acquired 10 per cent “participating interest” in Oil and Gas Block in Rovuma Area 1 block, Mozambique, from the US-based Anadarko.
The Mozambique asset was later acquired by ONGC Videsh Limited and Oil India Limited in January, 2014, for USD 2,519 million, they said.
In April, 2012, a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India, and comprising of ICICI bank and IDBI bank, sanctioned Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC) facility of USD 2,773.60 million to VHHL for appraisal and development of their overseas oil and gas assets in Mozambique, Brazil and Indonesia and other funding requirements in relation to refinancing the existing facility.
The agency found that VIL diverted funds of SCB, London, only spending USD 374 million, USD 554.82 million and USD 25.25 million on its assets in Mozambique, Indonesia and Brazil respectively as against the facility of USD 1616 million availed by VHHL, it said.
“The facts and circumstance prima facie show that unknown officers of lender banks led by SBI in conspiracy with Venugopal Dhoot, CMD of Videocon Industries Limited allowed VHHL, to continue to the avail the facility from SCB, London, with dishonest intention by not creating charge on Mozambique asset and thereby cause wrongful gain to Videocon and wrongful loss to Indian PSU banks,” it alleged.