Liberty House challenged the RP’s decision taking the matter to the Principal Bench of NCLT, New Delhi. The NCLT observed that the bid by Liberty House could not be disqualified only on the grounds that it was submitted after the deadline.
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Wednesday asked Bhushan Power and Steel’s lenders to consider the bid submitted by Liberty House, but directed them not to disclose the identity of the highest bidder till the appellate tribunal decides on Tata Steel’s petition. Tata Steel had, on Tuesday, moved the NCLAT challenging an April 23 order of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) which directed the committee of creditors (CoC) to consider the late bid submitted by UK-based Liberty House for Bhushan Power and Steel.
Hearing the plea, the two-member bench of the NCLAT, headed by chairman Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya, however, refused Tata Steel’s appeal to direct the CoC not to “decide on anything” in the meantime. The appellate tribunal said, “Let the CoC apply their mind; but they should not announce the highest bidder and keep it in a sealed envelope”. The NCLAT also sent notices to Liberty House, the CoC and the resolution professional (RP), asking them to reply within a week. The case will be heard on May 24. Apart from Tata Steel, JSW Steel was the only other bidder which had submitted a bid for the loss-making steelmaker before the deadline ended on February 8. Liberty House had placed its bid for the company on February 20 and the resolution professional Mahender Khandelwal rejected it on the ground it been submitted after the deadline.
Liberty House challenged the RP’s decision taking the matter to the Principal Bench of NCLT, New Delhi. The NCLT observed that the bid by Liberty House could not be disqualified only on the grounds that it was submitted after the deadline. Tata Steel had reportedly offered to make an upfront payment of Rs 17,000 crore to 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. Tata Steel’s counsel had earlier argued in the tribunal that Liberty House submitted its bid after the other bids had been opened and material information regarding those had been reported in the press. Bhushan Power and Steel figured among the 12 large non-performing assets (NPAs) referred to insolvency proceedings by banks following a nudge from the RBI in June last year.