Private sector lender ICICI Bank on Monday approached the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), seeking a direction to the Allahabad bench of the NCLT to hear urgently its insolvency petition against Jaiprakash Associates (JAL) and pass the order without any further delay. In its plea before the appellate tribunal, ICICI Bank submitted that there has been no progress in its insolvency petition filed against JAL, which was filed in September last year. The bank alleged that Jaypee group’s flagship firm is delaying admission of the insolvency plea by approaching several judicial forums.
ICICI Bank also said that hearing before the Allahabad bench of NCLT was adjourned almost 12 times from September 10, 2018, to May 27, 2019, and such adjournments were “unfairly delaying” the resolution process.
Hearing the matter, a single-member NCLAT bench of Justice Bansi Lal Bhat directed to list ICICI Bank’s plea on July 1 for hearing.
JAL owes around Rs1,296 crore and the bank had approached NCLT to recover the dues by filing an insolvency plea against the company under section 7 of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
However, JAL challenged the ICICI Bank petition before the Allahabad High Court, but the same was rejected. Later, JAL moved the Supreme Court, which too refused to stay the application. “However, despite this, there is no development in this matter,” said ICICI Bank counsel on Monday. “We want direction to NCLT to expedite the matter,” the counsel said, alleging that the proceedings before NCLT are being played into the hands of the JAL promoters.
In its petition, ICICI Bank has requested the appellate tribunal to “direct NCLT, Allahabad Bench to hear the (matter) … on an urgent and day-to-day basis and pass final order of disposal … expeditiously and without any further delay”. ICICI Bank also alleged that JAL is delaying the insolvency resolution process by approaching several judicial forums “only to prolong and delay the admission of the Insolvency Application”.
“It is submitted that the Respondent (JAL) has been deliberately abusing insolvency resolution process by approaching different forums to stay or set aside the Insolvency Application,” it added.
JAL was in the RBI’s second list of 26 defaulters, against which banking sector regulator had directed to initiate insolvency process.