Home / Companies / News /  Dish TV investors desperate as war for control drags on

BENGALURU : A promoter group entity of Dish TV India Ltd on Monday filed a fresh lawsuit before the Bombay high court against its largest shareholder Yes Bank Ltd, questioning the legal validity of the shares owned by the bank in the satellite-TV provider.

This is at least the fifth such lawsuit filed by either party in the dispute that arose after Yes Bank demanded reconstitution of the board, including removal of chairman and managing director Jawahar Goel and induction of seven directors.

Yes Bank and Dish TV are battling three cases before a Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal. Additionally, the Supreme Court, which has stayed the Uttar Pradesh Police’s earlier decision to freeze Yes Bank-owned shares in Dish TV, will hear the two sides on 12 January.

The court cases are testing the patience of both retail and large shareholders in Dish TV, who are now questioning the reluctance of markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), and Registrar of Companies (RoC) in examining the charges levelled by both sides.

“Both Dish TV and Yes Bank have written to Sebi, apprising the market regulator of their side of the story," said an executive of a firm holding more than a little over 1% shares in Dish TV. “But it is surprising that after more than three months, both Sebi and RoC have not initiated any action. Isn’t it the job of the market regulator to see minority shareholders do not lose out, especially when there are serious allegations of corporate misgovernance by the bank against the company?"

Yes Bank alleges corporate misgovernance by the current board of Dish TV and wants the board to be replaced.

Dish TV, which denies these allegations, has complained to Sebi that the bank is looking to take control of the company by demanding reconstitution of the board.

Yes Bank’s 15-page complaint to Ajay Tyagi, chairman of Sebi, on 15 November was the fourth letter written by the bank to the regulator, after its earlier complaints in letters dated 19 June, 7 July, and 9 November, according to bank’s disclosures made before a company court in Mumbai.

“In light of the above-mentioned exigencies, this becomes a trite case for your good office to take note of these circumstances and exercise your powers by…issue necessary directions to the Company and the Board under Section 11 B of the Sebi Act," wrote Yes Bank managing director Prashant Kumar in his complaint on 15 November.

Mint reviewed a copy of Yes Bank’s complaint filed as part of its legal filings to a company court in Mumbai on 9 December.

“(W)e wish to inform you that the company has been served with a suit on 18 December 2021, filed by World Crest Advisors LLP, a promoter group entity, against inter-alia, Catalyst Trusteeship Ltd and Yes Bank Ltd, before the Hon’ble High Court of Judicature at Bombay," said a disclosure by Dish TV to the BSE on Monday. “The company is one of the defendants in the suit. Vide the suit, the plaintiff seeks, inter-alia, a declaration to the effect that it is the owner of 44,00,54,852 equity shares of the Company which are presently held by Yes Bank in its demat account and also sought a direction to the company to recognize the plaintiff as its shareholder in respect of the above mentioned 44,00,54,852 equity shares, instead of Yes Bank or any person/entity claiming through Yes Bank."

Dish TV’s decision to again question the validity of 25.63% shares owned by Yes Bank comes after Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra made a similar complaint last year at Gautam Buddh Nagar police station. Subsequently, police froze the shares owned by the bank. Last month, Yes Bank had to ask the Supreme Court to intervene and put a stay on the police proceedings.

Executives at Yes Bank believe that the latest suit by the promoters of Dish TV, who own 5.93%, again reaffirms that the company is looking to get a reprieve from a court to delay the proposed annual general meeting on 30 December.

“Look at what happened in the case of Reliance Capital, where RBI superseded the current board. The least Sebi or RoC can do, is examine or start an investigation into the affairs of Dish TV. This will at least stop the company from filing fresh litigation and doing everything to make sure the AGM is not called," said an investor who owns more than 3% shares in Dish TV.

Emails sent to Sebi and ROC were not answered till press time.

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