The Madras High Court has upheld a Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT) order permitting ICICI Bank to recover defaulted loan dues of Rs 4,067 crore from the now-defunct retail chain Subhiksha Trading Services. A bench of Chief Justice V K Tahilramani and Justice M Duraiswamy passed the order when dismissing a petition moved by Subhiksha’s managing director R Subramanian, who is under judicial remand in a money laundering case.
Subramanian argued the case as party-in-person, after getting special permission from the court. ICICI had filed an application with the DRAT to recover defaulted loan dues from Subhiksha, but it was dismissed as the bank failed to produce certificates along with the computer-generated bank statements.
On an appeal by ICICI, the tribunal on February 19 last year allowed the bank to proceed with recovering the dues. Aggrieved, Subramanian moved the high court, contending that the statement of accounts, produced by the bank without the certificate, cannot be taken on record as valid evidence under provisions of Indian Evidence Act and the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act, 1891. Rejecting his arguments, the bench said the petitioner has not raised any objection at the time of marking the document.
Even, the entries made in the statement of accounts were also not disputed by the petitioner in any manner and he cannot raise objections at a later stage. “It is needless to say that the bank is dealing with the public money and such a huge amount cannot be allowed to go un-recovered from the defaulting borrowers, who have availed the loan as early as 2005,” the court said and dismissed the petition.