GTL files plea in NCLT to recover Rs12,500 crore dues from Aircel

Mumbai: GTL Infrastructure Ltd has filed a fresh intervention application in the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to recover operational dues of Rs500 crore and contractual claims of over Rs12,000 crore from Aircel Ltd, said two people aware of the matter. These claims were against the premature exit of Aircel from the tenancy agreements it had struck with GTL.

On 22 February, Aircel Ltd had filed for bankruptcy. Its owes banks and other financial creditors Rs17,000 crore. The contractual claims refers to the revenues that GTL would have realized over the remaining period of the contract if Aircel had been a going concern.

“Against this Rs12,000 crore recovery, GTL Infra would be incurring costs in the range of around Rs11,000 crore for operational expenses including ground rent, energy, security and staff among other things,” said one of the people cited earlier, who has reviewed a copy of the petition.

In 2010, GTL Infrastructure had paid over Rs8,000 crore to acquire 17,500 towers of Aircel along with 21,000 tenancies. Aircel is GTL Infra’s customer using its towers for its wireless network.

According to the second person cited earlier, the intervention plea filed by GTL Infra claims that since 30 November, Aircel started defaulting on its payments. Aircel has also defaulted to lenders and other operational creditors.

On 22 February, Aircel informed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) that it is undergoing deep financial stress and has been severely impacted by tower service provider GTL Infra shutting off as much as a third of its total sites in different circles across the country. Subsequently, the regulator asked the troubled telecom operator to give time to its subscribers to shift to other networks.

Email queries to Aircel Ltd, Maxis Berhad did not elicit any response till the time of filing of the story.

“We have requested NCLT to take appropriate steps to stop directors who resigned from the Board of Aircel from moving out of the country without courts permission,” said a GTL spokesperson.livemint


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