NCLT directs Deccan Chronicle’s RP to hold CoC meeting on resolution plan

Expressing concern over non-implementation of the resolution plan approved for the ailing media house Holdings even after two years, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has directed the resolution professional to convene a meeting of the committee of creditors (CoC) to decide the future course of action.

Asking the CoC to decide whether to proceed with the resolution plan of Kolkata-based Srei group which was approved in June 2019, the tribunal has directed the lenders to submit their views “with a proper fresh resolution” in the changed circumstances.

The NCLT’s Hyderabad bench passed the order while hearing petitions filed by two of the financial creditors, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Religare Finvest, seeking to set aside the resolution plan of Srei group, reinstate the CoC and resolution professional, and invite fresh resolution bids or order liquidation.

On the non-implementation of the plan, the successful resolution applicant, Srei Multiple Asset Vision India, submitted to the NCLT that the matter questioning the resolution plan by some financial creditors was pending before the appellate tribunal.

“We are surprised at the manner in which the members of the committee of creditors have not taken any steps for the proper implementation of the resolution plan even though a long time has elapsed and no stay was granted by Hon’ble NCLAT,” observed the Hyderabad bench of NCLT.

Noting that some of the financial creditors had moved the appellate tribunal seeking to revoke the approved resolution plan, the NCLT’s Hyderabad bench directed the resolution professional, Mamata Binani, to reconvene the meeting of the CoC.

“A proper resolution by the CoC be put up before us to consider the matter afresh,” directed the NCLT bench, which comprised judicial member Bhaskara Pantula Mohan and technical member Veera Brahma Rao Arekapudi.

A former judicial member of NCLT, Pundla Bhaskara Mohan, said it was “a well-considered order given at a right time by NCLT in consonance with the spirit of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016” in the backdrop of inordinate delays to revive the company through the resolution process. “Let us hope that very soon the scheme will be through,” he said.

Resolution professional Binani did not respond to ET’s queries.

The resolution plan of Srei group approved by NCLT in June 2019 involved Rs 408.06 crore in cash, certain high-value assets and a share in Deccan Chargers to be distributed among 37 financial creditors against loans of Rs 8,180 crore extended by the company.

Ever since the publishing house plunged into a financial crisis following defaults in July 2012, dozens of lenders attempted to recover loans extended to the company for the past nine years. While some lenders auctioned the assets pledged with them, others including the Srei group entity converted part of their loans into equity.

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