The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has directed the government, regulators, and investigation agencies to clear their stand before the dedicated bankruptcy court decides on the legality of the one-time settlement (OTS) offer of the absconding promoters of Sterling Biotech.
“How the proposal submitted by the Sandesara Group is accepted by the financial creditor creates a suspicion when the promoter/director is absconder and ED and CBI is searching them,” said the Mumbai bench of NCLT bench presided over by VP Singh and Ravikumar Duraisamy.
“In the background, passing any further order, we would like to issue notice to central government, enforcement directorate (ED), Income Tax authorities, CBI, SEBI and RBI, so that if they want to make any representation, they can make the same before passing any further order.”
The tribunal has given two weeks time to the government and various investigation agencies to file their response. The NCLT will hear the matter further on March 26.
On Monday, the lawyers representing the lenders informed the tribunal that they have decided to withdraw the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) against the company since the promoters are willing to pay the dues under OTS.
“Over 90% of lenders have approved the settlement offer of around Rs 3,100 crores and under Section 12 (A) of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC), the petition can be withdrawn,” argued Nishit Dhruva, Managing Partner of MDP & Partners, who was representing the lenders in the case. “The lenders have already got 5% of default amount from the outstanding amount on the day of default.”
The tribunal has also asked the resolution professional of the company to file a fresh petition to under Section 12 (A) of IBC to withdraw the CIRP petition. Ashish Pyasi, an advocate with law firm Dhir and Dhir Associates, said this (OTS) will definitely set a precedent. “Whether the investigating agencies probing the affairs of the company can be treated as stakeholders whose consent is required before process can be allowed to be withdrawn under section 12A,” adds Pyasi.