By Mitali Salian
A few lenders with direct exposure to Reliance Infratel (RITL) on Thursday moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against the interim resolution professional’s admission of claims of bankers. The bankers’ claims were reported to be around Rs 8,000 crore and based on invoked corporate guarantees issued by RITL in favour of Reliance Communication.
Lawyers representing Doha Bank and three other banks, and referring to themselves as the ‘syndicate of direct lenders to RITL’, alleged that the admission of
claims diluted the voting share of direct lenders to RITL within the committee of creditors (CoC).
The lawyers requested the tribunal not to allow the newly-formed CoC for Reliance Communications, RITL and Reliance Telecom to go ahead with any major decision. They requested that the tribunal allow the direct lenders’ syndicate, or the petitioners, to present their case at the earliest, fearing that approval of the CoC on a new resolution professional could be ‘severely prejudicial’ to them. The two-member Mumbai Bench of the NCLT adjourned the matter for a urgent hearing on Friday, after directing the parties concerned to file their replies by then.
At Thursday’s hearing, advocates representing the petitioners said the direct lenders’ syndicate had lent RITL around Rs 1,400 crore, while State Bank of India’s direct exposure stood at Rs 900 crore and the exposure of operational creditors was at Rs 300 crore.
Given this breakdown, the counsel suggested that the voting share of the syndicate within the RITL CoC stood at 55%, while that of SBI was at 45%.
The petitioners argued that with the addition of admitted claims worth Rs 8,000 crore – based on bankers invoking corporate guarantees issued by Reliance Infratel to help secure loans for Reliance Communications – the debt had gone up to Rs 10,600 crore. The actual admitted claims for RITL, as per documents uploaded on the website, stood at Rs 9,665.07 crore.
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The petitioners said with the addition of this debt, their total voting share had been diluted to 15% from 45%. The counsel added that the addition of these claims were essentially void under Section 186 (5) of the Companies Act and said corporate guarantees were invoked without the consent from RITL lenders.
The newly-formed committee of creditors to Reliance Communications and RITL met for the first time on Thursday afternoon.