NCLT says there cannot be absolutism by IRP, creditors in insolvency resolution
New Delhi: The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Wednesday said there could be no absolutism by the insolvency resolution professional (IRP) and committee of creditors (CoC) in insolvency resolution process.
“We live in a regime where the supervisory role of adjudicatory authority presumes more importance in order to maintain the sanctity of the (insolvency resolution) process,” chairman Justice M.M. Kumar said.
The tribunal was hearing Liberty House’s plea seeking a direction to CoC to consider its resolution plan for debt-ridden Bhushan Power and Steel.
Counsel for Mahender Khandelwal, the IRP for Bhushan Power and Steel, argued that the insolvency resolution process was going strictly as per the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and that no judicial intervention was required in such a situation.
“My conduct is in compliance of the insolvency process document... there has been no discrimination,” he said.
He further argued that Liberty House was “estopped” (prohibited) from challenging the insolvency process before NCLT after being a part of it.
Liberty House had approached NCLT on 26 February and argued that since it was a “potential resolution applicant” after the former’s “expression of interest” was duly received and acknowledged by IRP, the IRP was bound to intimate the 8 February deadline for submission of the resolution plan.
Liberty House’s expression of interest was received by IRP on 13 November 2017 and duly accepted after the 6 October 2017 deadline.
Liberty House submitted its proposal for Bhushan Power and Steel on 20 February and was rejected for late submission.
The insolvency resolution process for Bhushan Power and Steel has been put on hold for the time being after NCLT on 13 March directed the IRP and the CoC not to proceed with any consideration of resolution process of any other entities as the matter was sub judice.
Bhushan Power and Steel, which owes at least Rs37,000 crore to a consortium of lenders led by state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), is among the 12 large companies identified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for early insolvency resolution.