The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Monday pulled up State Bank of India (SBI) for the second time over ambiguities in the submission regarding its insolvency petition against Monnet Ispat.
Last week, a two-judge bench of justices BSV Prakash Kumar and V Nallasenapathy had questioned certain ambiguities in SBI’s petition as the claim put forth by the bank was higher than the stated default of `2,242 crore. The counsel appearing for SBI said the company had defaulted on loans of Rs 1,539 crore. The bench asked the counsel to file a written submission clarifying how much the bank was claiming from the company.
On Monday, SBI left the amounts unchanged, citing a precedent in the matter of Starlog Enterprises vs ICICI Bank, where the claim amount was also stated to be higher than the amount in default.
Justice Kumar said this citation on the part of the SBI counsel was “suicidal” because the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in its order in the Starlog matter had said the NCLT’s ascertainment of default “suffers from non-application of mind given the apparent and conspicuous mismatch between the amount demanded by the Respondent from the Appellant in its demand notice dated 6th February 2017 and the amount stated to be in default in the said application.”
The bench said that SBI’s petition against Monnet had not been drafted properly and suggested a “lack of seriousness” on the part of the petitioner. It said the matter had already seen two adjournments on similar grounds and if a proper clarification is not filed by SBI by the date of the next hearing, the bench will rule in line with the precedent set by the NCLAT in its Starlog order.
Monnet Ispat is one of tha large 12 large bad-loan accounts referred by the RBI for resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
On Thursday, SBI had told the NCLT that JSW Steel’s offer to take over Monnet Ispat on a going-concern basis was unacceptable to it in the ‘current form’. Later on the same day, Sajjan Jindal, CMD of the JSW Group, had said JSW Steel might tweak its offer for the near-bankrupt Monnet Ispat.