NCLAT rejects Dighi port promoters' plea challenging insolvency proceedings

Topics Dighi Port | APSEZ

Dighi Port

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Thursday rejected the plea of promoters of Dighi Port challenging insolvency proceedings against the debt-ridden company. A two-member NCLAT bench headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya rejected the promoters plea contending "existence of dispute" with the creditors.

The appellate tribunal said that it "cannot sit in appeal on commercial wisdom of the Committee of Creditors", which has already approved Rs 650 crore bid from Adani Ports and SEZ (APSEZ).

The NCLAT was further informed that the Mumbai bench of the NCLT on March 5 has already approved the decision of lenders of Dighi Port to handover the company to APSEZ following its directions. NCLAT observed that CoC had approved APSEZ plan with 99.68 per cent voting share on September 19, 2019 and the promoters were highlighting a pre-existence of dispute' with the creditors

"However, as more than one and a half year has passed and as the matter remains pending since long because of the Appellant Vishal Vijay Kalantri', the Promoter' would have settled the matter with the creditors and also sought time, we are not inclined to determine the initial issue whether there was a pre-existing dispute' or not," said the NCLAT.

"Even if, the proceedings are quashed on the pre-existing dispute', as admittedly there is a default of payment and it will regenerate other proceedings, which is not desirable," it said.

The NCLAT said that the matter was already pending before the NCLT for passing the order.

"In the circumstances, we are not interfering with the impugned order dated March 25, 2018 passed by the NCLT Mumbai Bench and dismiss the appeals preferred by Vishal Vijay Kalantri' and declare both the appeals preferred by APSEZ as infructuous," it said.

On March 25, 2018 NCLT had directed to initiate corporate insolvency resolution process' and number of claims were filed by different financial creditors' and the operational creditors, amounting to Rs 3,000 crore.

Earlier, NCLAT while hearing the plea of the promoters and suspended directors of the company had given a go ahead to NCLT to decide over the bid but had said that the outcome would be subject to its final order. The NCLAT had directed the CoC to approve a resolution plan and also to evaluate the proposal submitted by its promoters.

Dighi Port went into insolvency proceedings in 2018 after the Mumbai bench of the NCLT allowed a recovery plea by DBM Geotechnics and Constructions Pvt Ltd, one of its operational creditors, for non-payment of dues.

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