Anil Ambani to move NCLAT against appointment of RP in SBI matter

Topics NCLT | sbi | Anil Ambani

SBI moved the bankruptcy tribunal in March this year under Section 95 of IBC against Anil Ambani
Anil Ambani is likely to move National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) against the appointment of Jitender Kothari as resolution professional (RP) in the dispute with State Bank of India. He is taking legal advice on the same.

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had appointed Kothari earlier on Friday, to officiate in the matter between SBI and Ambani. The case pertains to the personal guarantee given by Ambani against a loan taken by Reliance Communications (RCom) and Reliance Infratel (RITL).  

According to the NCLT order, there is no doubt that the respondent (Anil Ambani) furnished his personal guarantee for the credit facility availed of by RCom and RITL. 

Further, when an application is moved under Section 95 of the IBC, the tribunal has no option but to nominate an RP within seven days of the creditor filing such an application. 

Ambani’s counsel argued that a corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) was already in progress for the same firms — wherein lenders had approved of the plan and were only awaiting the tribunal’s nod — and that the NCLT could wait till conclusion of the same. However, the argument was not accepted by the bankruptcy tribunal. 

A spokesperson for Anil Ambani said: “The NCLT has declined SBI’s request for a restriction on Ambani from dealing in or appropriating his assets, to the prejudice of interest of SBI. The NCLT order directing appointment of the RP does not constitute an admission of SBI’s insolvency application by the NCLT. The RP will examine SBI’s insolvency application against Ambani and submit a report to the NCLT.” 
Ashish Pyasi, associate partner at Dhir & Dhir Associates, said: “According to the process, the petition is yet to be admitted. The RP now has to go through the application and submit its report in 10 days, stating reasons for acceptance or rejection of the application, which will be considered by the NCLT. In the meantime, he may call for information from both parties.” 

Ambani had furnished personal guarantee while securing the loan in 2016. SBI granted loans of Rs 1,195 crore to RCom and RITL in August 2016, based on the agreement. 

However, both defaulted in January 2017, thereby forcing SBI to declare them non-performing. 

The state-owned lender moved NCLT in March under Section 95 of IBC, on fears that Ambani has also provided the personal guarantee against loans secured from foreign banks. 

These foreign banks — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Development Bank, and Exim Bank of China — have initiated recovery in the UK, and the court has asked Ambani to pay $717 million within a stipulated period of time, failing which the banks could pursue all available options for recovery. 

Fearing that the Chinese banks may move to attach Ambani’s property and assets, which in turn may dent its own recovery process, SBI moved the bankruptcy tribunal. 

Meanwhile, the CIRP of RCom is on rocky turf following the Department of Telecommunications’ objection to the resolution plan for RCom and Reliance Telecom.

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