In the matter of Tata Steel BSL Limited & Anr. v. Union of India & Anr. The petitioner has filed the present petition impugning an order dated 16.08.2019 in CC No. 770/2019 captioned ‘Serious Fraud Investigation Office v. Bhushan Steel Limited’, whereby the Trial Court had taken cognizance of the offences punishable under the Companies Act, 2013; offences punishable under the Companies Act, 1956 and; certain offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Tata Steel Limited had submitted a Resolution Plan with respect to the petitioner (then known as ‘Bhushan Steel Limited’), which was approved by the Committee of Creditors on 20.03.2018 and by Adjudicating Authority (NCLT) on 15.05.2018. The said order dated 15.05.2018 was impugned before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in Company Appeal (AT) (Insolvency) No. 221/2018 and connected matters. The W.P. (CRL.) 3037/2019 Page 3 of 5 same was dismissed by NCLAT on 10.08.2018. Thereafter, 72.65% of the petitioner’s equity capital was acquired by Tata Steel Limited.
In terms of Section 32A of the IBC, as inserted by virtue of the Insolvency of Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2020; the petitioner is required to be discharged from the aforesaid proceedings.
It is clear from the express language of the aforementioned provision that a Corporate Debtor would not be liable for any offence committed prior to commencement of the CIRP and the corporate debtor would not be prosecuted if a resolution plan has been approved by the Adjudicating Authority.
Hon’ble High Court of Delhi vide order dated 16.08.2019 set aside the complaint and held that since the resolution plan has been approved, petitioner cannot be prosecuted and is liable to be discharged.
It is clarified that this order will not affect the prosecution of the erstwhile promoters or any of the officers who may be directly responsible for committing the offences in relation to the affairs of the petitioner company.