Appellate Tribunal stays Mumbai NCLT order to consider Kapil Wadhawan's DHFL settlement offer


The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Tuesday stayed the Mumbai NCLT’s order which directed the administrator of Dewan Housing Finance to consider a settlement proposal by its former promoter Kapil Wadhawan, who is now in jail for alleged misdeeds.

The division bench, headed by Justice AIS Cheema and VP Singh in an oral order stayed the directive passed by the National Company Law Tribunal’s (NCLT) Mumbai chapter on May 19.

RBI-appointed administrator, the committee of creditors (CoC) and

group, which emerged successful bidder to own the indebted home financier filed three separate applications challenging the order in favour of the ousted promoter.

The matter is now slated for hearing on June 25. But, this does not debar the insolvency court in Mumbai to pronounce its decision on the resolution plan submitted by the Piramal group, which was already approved by lenders and the Reserve Bank of India.

The appellate tribunal also clarified, this case will not have any impediment for passing an order in the resolution plan of the successful resolution applicant.

Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India, who appeared for the CoC, argued that this NCLT order will destroy the entire fabric of IBC if it becomes a precedent.

“The proposal of the former promoter is not viable and that decision was already taken by the CoC,” argued Mehta, who appeared with senor counsel Shyam Diwan.

“Most of the investigation agencies are investigating and that is something not looked upon by the NCLT,” he said.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Piramal Capital & Housing Finance, argued that what Wadhawan, calls a proposal is just a letter, not a resolution plan.

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“Even as a precedent, this (NCLT order) will create havoc. What you can’t do under 29 (A) or 12 (A), you have remarkably achieved by this order,” said Singhvi.

Senior Advocate, Ravi Kadam, defending the RBI appointed Administrator informed the appellate tribunal that the tribunal has reserved its order for the approval of the resolution plan.

“In view of the clarification given by the NCLAT, the resolution plan can be heard and approved by the NCLT,” said Ashish Pyasi Associate Partner Dhir & Dhir Associates. “In the absence of this clarification, the approval of the plan would have been delayed further. This will give some respite to lenders and the resolution applicant.”

Sudipto Sarkar, a senior advocate, defended his client – Kapil Wadhawan saying that 65% of creditors are deposit holders and NCLD holders.

“Our proposal intends to pay them in full,” said Sarkar.

During mid-January Billionaire Ajay Piramal won the most contested bankruptcy bid for

trumping distressed fund Oaktree Capital and Adani Capital as creditors overwhelmingly voted for the drug-maker turned real estate and mortgage lender.

“In view of the clarification given by the NCLAT, the resolution plan can be heard and approved by the NCLT,” said Ashish Pyasi Associate Partner Dhir & Dhir Associates. “In the absence of this clarification, the approval of the plan would have been delayed further. This will give some respite to lenders and the resolution applicant.”

Of the Rs 87,000-odd crore debt, the company owes close to Rs 40,000 crore to banks. Others include bondholders, fixed depositors.

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