New Delhi: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Thursday admitted an appeal by Jaiprakash Associates Ltd (JAL) challenging an order passed by National Company Law Tribunal’s (NCLT) Allahabad bench directing it to return 759 acres of land to its subsidiary Jaypee Infratech Ltd (JIL).

Last week, the appellate tribunal had admitted an appeal by Jaiprakash Associates’ lenders ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and State Bank of India challenging the same order.

The land, which belongs to Jaypee Infratech, was mortgaged to a consortium of banks led by ICICI Bank by Jaiprakash Associates for a loan.

A two-judge NCLAT bench headed by Justice S.J. Mukhopadhyay issued notice to the resolution professional for Jaypee Infratech, which is currently undergoing insolvency resolution.

While admitting the lenders’ appeal last week, the appellate tribunal, without passing a formal order to the effect, had observed that prima facie NCLT had exceeded its jurisdiction by adjudicating upon the legality of a legal instrument.

Earlier this month, the Allahabad bench of NCLT had declared the transfer of ownership of 858 acres of Jaypee Infratech’s land by JAL to its own lenders, in the form of collateral for loans, as “fraudulent, preferential and undervalued" and asked Jaiprakash Associates to return 759 acres of it.

The NCLT order was passed on a plea referred by the resolution professional for Jaypee Infratech, Anuj Jain, which alleged that the company did not receive any consideration from Jaiprakash Associates for these transactions.

Jaypee Infratech is among the 12 companies against whom the Reserve Bank of India, through its directive, asked banks to file insolvency petitions. The NCLT’s Allahabad bench admitted a plea moved by IDBI Bank seeking the initiation of a corporate insolvency resolution process against the real estate firm in August 2017.

On 16 May, the apex court directed Jaiprakash Associates to deposit Rs1,000 crore with its registry by 15 June to avert the liquidation of Jaypee Infratech.

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