NCLAT sets aside tribunal order to begin insolvency process against Apeejay Tea

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Kolkata | Published: November 14, 2019 4:12:35 AM

The operational creditor, Assam-based Hanusita & Sons, which had been supplying fertilisers to the tea company, had alleged that the company had defaulted on payment of around Rs. 48.72 lakh.

The NCLT had on October 18 ordered commencement of the insolvency resolution process for Apeejay Tea, which is one of the major tea producers having 17 estates in Assam.

In a major relief to diversified Apeejay Surrendra Group, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has set aside an order passed by the Kolkata Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to start insolvency proceedings against the group’s tea company, Apeejay Tea.

Admitting an operational creditor’s insolvency petition for initiating the corporate insolvency resolution process under Section 9 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) for an alleged default, the NCLT had on October 18 ordered commencement of the insolvency resolution process for Apeejay Tea, which is one of the major tea producers having 17 estates in Assam.

The operational creditor, Assam-based Hanusita & Sons, which had been supplying fertilisers to the tea company, had alleged that the company had defaulted on payment of around Rs. 48.72 lakh.

“In view of the fact that there was a pre-existence of dispute and parties have settled the matter before the constitution of the committee of creditors, we set aside the impugned order dated October 18, 2019,” the three-member appellate tribunal said in an order on November 11.

Earlier, following the tribunal’s order, a director of Apeejay Surrendra group, Ashoke Ghosh (appellant), moved the NCLAT, challenging the order.

In his submission before the appellate tribunal, the counsel appearing on behalf of Ghosh submitted that there was a pre-existing dispute and a civil suit was pending (before the Calcutta High Court) with regard to the same claims. Therefore, the application under Section 9 of the IBC was not maintainable.

It was also submitted that the appellant was ready to settle the matter to reach an amicable settlement with the respondent (operational creditor).

The NCLAT said in its order, “… the corporate debtor (company) is released from all the rigours of law and is allowed to function independently through its board of directors from immediate effect. The Interim Resolution Professional will hand over the assets and records to the board of directors.”

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