Big relief for Edu Smart Services as Axis Bank claim rejected by NCLT

By: | Published: November 2, 2017 5:00 AM

Resolution professional informed NCLT that the bank had already claimed `397 cr from the principal borrower Educomp but failed to disclose this in its application.

Edu Smart Services, National Company Law Tribunal, Axis Bank, claim rejected by NCLT, corporate insolvency proceedings According to the order, Edu Smart was a corporate guarantor for its parent company Educomp Solutions, which had availed a loan from Axis Bank. (Image: Reuters)

The principal bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in New Delhi has dismissed Axis Bank’s plea to stake a claim of Rs 397 crore in the ongoing corporate insolvency proceedings against Edu Smart Services. According to the order, Edu Smart was a corporate guarantor for its parent company Educomp Solutions, which had availed a loan from Axis Bank. The order was in response to a plea filed by Axis Bank after Edu Smart’s resolution professional (RP) rejected the bank’s claim filed under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The resolution professional informed the tribunal that Axis Bank had already claimed the amount of debt from the principal borrower — Educomp — but failed to disclose this in its application. While the total claim of the secured creditors of Edu Smart is about Rs 112 crore, the corporate guarantee furnished was worth `2,048 crore and the liquidation value of the company is only Rs 25 crore. “Therefore, it has been submitted that the claim made by Axis Bank on the basis of corporate guarantee is a mala fide attempt to create hurdle in the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process of the corporate debtor,” the order said.

The tribunal said that Axis Bank would not suffer any prejudice as it has already claimed the amount of debt from the principal borrower — Educomp Solutions – in separate proceedings. Interestingly, Educomp’s insolvency case was admitted by the NCLT in May 2017. Axis Bank said in a statement to FE that, “While the Resolution Professional had submitted before NCLT Delhi (Principal Bench) that “the claim made by the Axis Bank — applicant on the basis of the corporate guarantee is a malafide attempt to create hurdle in the CIRP of the Corporate Debtor”, NCLT Delhi has not made any findings against Axis Bank on such submissions.

The spoksperson added that the limited legal issue on which the Order has been passed is in relation to corporate guarantee claims under the CIRP process and the bank is evaluating an appeal against the order. The order said the resolution professional submitted that if such a claim was accepted under two different corporate insolvency resolution processes, then it would lead to “unjust enrichment of such creditor and would lead to an anomalous situation”.

An insolvency petition against Edu Smart, filed by DBS Bank was admitted by Principal Bench of the NCLT on June 27, 2017 and a moratorium was announced. After a notice was published by the resolution professional, Axis Bank sent its claim on July 11, 2017, which was declined by the resolution professional since the corporate guarantee had not yet been invoked. Meanwhile, Axis Bank invoked the corporate guarantee after the communication from the resolution professional, but was was then informed by Edu Smart that the guarantee could not be invoked owing to a moratorium.

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