The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has asked Abhijit Rajan, promoter and non-executive chairman of infrastructure construction firm Gammon India Ltd, and four other directors of the company not to leave the country without obtaining the permission of the authorities concerned.
NCLT bars Gammon’s Abhijit Rajan from leaving India
The other four directors of the Mumbai-based company are executive director Anurag Choudhary and non-executive directors Urvashi Saxena, Naval Choudhary and Atul Kumar Shukla.
“On the last occasion, on 27 September, it was intimated from the side of debtor company (Gammon India) that there was a possibility of settlement. Hence, the time was granted to explore the possibility and to avail the benefit of any scheme of RBI,” said M.K. Shrawat, judicial member of NCLT Mumbai in his order on 3 January.
“However, except for placing the proposal of 17 November, nothing is on record from the side of the debtor company. It has also been informed that some criminal proceedings have been initiated against the directors,” said the order.
The Union Bank of India (UBI) has dragged Gammon India to the insolvency court alleging a default of more than ₹375 crore. BSE-listed Gammon India owes around ₹7,000 crore to lenders, including UBI. The firm incurred a consolidated net loss of ₹1,153.77 crore on net sales of ₹1,667.62 crore, according to its FY17 results.
The tribunal also said it has given promoters a last chance to produce “any material in their defence”, failing which “the matter shall be proceeded on merit”. The tribunal will next hear the case on 28 January and has directed key managerial persons and directors to be present.
Gammon’s troubles began after February 2018 when the RBI put an end to the restructuring of loans outside bankruptcy courts and set tight deadlines for firms slipping into default. It said cases involving more than ₹2,000 crore have to be settled in 180 days, failing which they have to be taken to bankruptcy courts.
An email query to Gammon remained unanswered till press time. Nishit Dhruva, managing partner of law firm MDP and Partners, and Prakash Shinde, partner of MDP and Partners, which is representing the bank, confirmed the development but refused to divulge details as the matter is subjudice.