Mumbai: Former directors of debt-laden Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) have approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to seek clarity over allowing them to operate their bank accounts.

The lawyers representing Ravi Parthasarathy, Pradeep Puri, A.K. Saha, Hari Sankaran and Rupa Kapoor, wife of one of the directors Vibhav Kapoor among others sought the tribunal’s intervention to clarify that the restraining order on nine erstwhile top officials of IL&FS from disposing of their personal assets doesn’t’ include their bank accounts and credit cards.

“The order of the tribunal has been misconstrued by the government and due to that the banks have frozen accounts and credit cards of Rupa Kapoor, who is a wife of one of the former director but she has nothing to do with the case," argued Janak Dwarkadas, senior counsel who was appearing for Rupa Kapoor in the case. “She has nothing to do with the IL&FS and she is independent taxpayer citizen of our country but due to the letters of Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to banks, it is impossible to do even day-to-day expenses. Do they want to live us on fresh air and love only," he added.

While Sharan Jagtiani, a counsel who was representing Pradeep Puri, argued that only one director S. Rengarajan had challenged the earlier order of NCLT with regards to attachment of movable and immovable assets and others have not joined him but they want this clarity from the NCLT only.

Countering this, Sanjay Shorey, director, legal prosecution, MCA, argued that NCLAT had passed an order on the plea of S. Rengarajan where it had allowed the withdrawal of 2 lakh every month till further order and similar relief can be given to the other erstwhile directors as well.

“My client is suffering from cancer and the cost of the treatment is way more than monthly limit of 2 lakh. If such order is passed then it will be very difficult for him to carry on with the treatment," argued a lawyer who was representing Ravi Parthasarathy, former chairman of IL&FS. “In my client’s case, it is...... a situation of life and death."

After hearing all the arguments, the division bench presided over by V.P. Singh and Ravikumar Duraiswami had reserved its order.

IL&FS accumulated a debt of more than 91,000 crore and defaulted on some of its commitments. At present, the newly-appointed board is trying to sell the assets of the group and use the money to reduce debt and revive the company.

In December 2018, the NCLT had allowed the government’s interim plea to restrain nine erstwhile top officials of IL&FS from disposing of their personal assets. These former officials include Ravi Parthasarathy, A.K. Saha, Hari Sankaran, G. Ramachandran, R.C. Bawa, S. Rengarajan, Mukund Sapre, Pradeep Puri, and Vibhav Kapoor.

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