Home / Companies / Company law tribunal tells Astro not to exit AskMe for six weeks

New Delhi: The National Company Law Tribunal on Tuesday asked Astro Entertainment Networks Ltd not to exit e-commerce website AskMe.com, in which it is an investor, for six weeks.

The tribunal’s order to maintain status quo came after Sanjiv Gupta, managing director of Getit Infoservices Pvt. Ltd, which runs AskMe, moved the tribunal against Getit and Astro for alleged mismanagement of the company.

Gupta also holds 0.06% shares in Getit.

Mint reported on 23 August that AskMe Group, which also runs e-commerce site AskMeBazaar, grocery marketplace AskMeGrocery, furniture and home décor portal Mebelkart, had accused Astro Entertainment Networks, which owns a 99% stake in the group, of not making payments.

Astro, on the other hand, says it has invested $300 million in Getit Infoservices, which runs AskMe, since 2010, and has criticized AskMe for its inability to make its business profitable despite this investment.

“No board meeting can be held in six weeks without prior permission of the court," the tribunal ruled.

Vipul Ganda, the advocate representing Gupta, said that if Astro exits the company, more than 4,000 employees and unsecured creditors will be left in a crunch.

“The company owes at least 300 crore to creditors. If Astro exits, then the dues must be cleared first," Ganda told the court.

“Astro Entertainment Networks Ltd has always been a responsible investor in Getit Infoservices over the last six years, and will continue to act responsibly and in accordance with Indian laws," according to a company spokesperson.

Astro Entertainment Networks is the investment vehicle of Astro Overseas Ltd.

Astro Overseas, which has assets under management of more than $1 billion, focuses on investments in the media and entertainment space across five categories—platform and distribution, content, intellectual property (IP) and production, e-commerce and digital media.

Besides India, it has investments in other Asian countries, apart from West Asia, the UK and the US, as per its LinkedIn profile.

Astro Overseas is wholly owned by Astro Holdings Sdn Bhd, a company that is jointly controlled by Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd (a Malaysian investment holding company led by billionaire Ananda Krishnan) and Khazanah Nasional Berhad (the strategic investment fund of the Malaysian government).

The case will be heard next on 17 October.

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