While the ordinance amending the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) bars promoters of Gujarat NRE Coke (GNCL) from bidding for the bankrupt company, the promoter on Wednesday told the Kolkata bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) that he wants to recall the insolvency application which the company had filed before the tribunal. The bench promptly dismissed the promoter’s plea, stating that the insolvency petition has already been admitted, and therefore it cannot be withdrawn now. The Kolkata-based company, promoted by Arun Kumar Jagatramka, is facing a threat of being liquidated as the moratorium of nine months will expire on January 1, 2018. The bench on Wednesday also rejected an appeal of Sumit Binani, the resolution professional (RP), for providing more time for the completion of the resolution process. In its last meeting, the committee of creditors (CoC) of the firm had in principle agreed to a further extension of the moratorium period.
Appearing before a division bench of the tribunal, comprising justices Vijai Pratap Singh and Jinan KR, the promoter’s counsel LP Tiwari urged the bench to direct the RP to consider the resolution plan earlier submitted by Jagatramka, citing an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Dismissing the appeal, justice Singh said, “The amendment led to ineligibility of the resolution applicant (promoter) to submit a resolution plan. So, in these circumstances, the appeal is not pertaining.”
Earlier, when the RP had called for the expression of interest (EoI), no other applicant, apart from its promoters, submitted a resolution plan for GNCL, the flagship company of Gujarat NRE group. But as the company’s loans have remained non-performing for over a year, its promoters have become ineligible under the revised IBC guidelines. As the tribunal dismissed his application for directing the RP to consider the resolution plan submitted earlier, Tiwari said he wanted to recall the insolvency application, which the company had filed before the tribunal. “Kindly withdraw the main petition as it (the company) is going for the liquidation,” he said. “The petition has already been admitted and therefore it cannot be withdrawn. There is no provision under the IBC for that. You may move the high court or any other court,” justice Singh said. The company owes lenders around Rs 4,600 crore and reported a net loss of Rs 676 crore on revenues of Rs 541 crore in the previous fiscal. Notably, responding to the fresh expression of interest (EoI) floated by Binani, four companies have recently expressed interest in submitting resolution plans for the debt-stricken company.