Tata Steel on Friday knocked the doors of the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the August 1 order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) that allowed the three bidders — Tata Steel, JSW Steel and Liberty House — to submit revised bids in the fray for bankrupt Bhushan Power and Steel (BPSL).
Though the SC declined an urgent hearing on the matter as sought by the company since the deadline for submitting revised bid is August 6, it agreed to hear the matter on August 10. Meanwhile, Tata Steel also moved the NCLAT to seek extension of time for submitting the revised bids, which will come up for hearing on August 6 itself.
Seeking to restrain the resolution professional and the committee of creditors from considering any fresh revised bids, Tata Steel said in its petition that its “compliant resolution plan” had received the highest score by the CoC at its meeting on June 11 and that was prior to the appellate tribunal’s July 20 order that directed the NCLT to consider top two viable bids.
It further told the apex court that it had participated in the process in a bonafide manner, abiding by all laws, timelines and requirements prescribed in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, and also those prescribed by the CoC and the RP.
The NCLAT’s August 1 order had said that the CoC will consider and evaluate the revised bids and identify the highest bidder, but put it in a sealed cover until the appellate tribunal passes an order on the original petition of Tata Steel which is whether the late submission of bid by Liberty House initially should be seen valid or not.
The case of Bhushan Power and Steel has gone through several twists and turns in the last few months.
On July 20, the NCLAT had directed the CoC to convene its meeting and consider all the three bids — Tata Steel, JSW Steel and Liberty House — and decide the H1 and H2 bidders and submit the proposal to the NCLT for adjudication.
However, it had added that while the NCLT may decide which is the better bid — H1 or H2 — based on the recommendation of the CoC, it will not disclose it till the appellate tribunal decides on the eligibility of Liberty House.
When the CoC subsequently met on July 27 as part of this direction, JSW Steel expressed its desire to revise its bid. The CoC allowed it, which was objected by Tata Steel which moved the NCLAT challenging this. Meanwhile, at the CoC’s meeting on July 31 the lenders chose Tata Steel’s bid as the most preferred one. However, with the NCLAT’s August 1 order calling for fresh bids, the CoC’s decision got superseded.
The race for the bankrupt company had taken a turn on April 23 when the NCLT had asked its lenders led by Punjab National Bank to consider the late bid submitted by UK-based Liberty House.
Liberty House had, on February 26, challenged the rejection of its bid by the RP on the grounds that it had been submitted late. The two bidders who had submitted their bids within the deadline of February 8 were Tata Steel and JSW Steel.
On May 8, Tata Steel had challenged the NCLT’s order on the consideration of Liberty’s bid in the appellate tribunal.
Tata Steel had reportedly offered to make an upfront payment of Rs 17,000 crore to the lenders, way better than JSW Steel’s offer of an upfront payment of Rs 11,000 crore. According to sources, Liberty House has offered to pay bankers Rs 18,500 crore upfront, though this could not be confirmed.
Bhushan Power and Steel owes lenders close to Rs 47,000 crore as on March 31, 2017. Bhushan Power and Steel was among the 12 non-performing assets the Reserve Bank of India had referred for insolvency proceedings in June last year.