NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea by operational creditors of Essar Steel, seeking to be heard before National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) Ahmedabad’s decision on ArcelorMittal’s winning bid for the insolvent firm. It also rejected the request for stay on National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order asking NCLT to decide the resolution process by February 11.
This should end the twist the resolution process took after ArcelorMittal was declared the winning bidder for Essar Steel under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The corporate insolvency resolution process of Essar Steel has already run for over 571 days, much past the deadline of 270 days set for the IBC resolution.
As many as 28 operational creditors moved NCLT Ahmedabad after ArcelorMittal’s bid was approved, delaying the case further and putting lenders in a fix. SBI had also put up select assets of Essar Steel for sale, pending the operational creditors’ case in NCLT and later in SC. The SC on Monday observed that Essar promoters are acting via operational creditors and other representatives to delay the process, which has already been dragged for 571 days since insolvency proceedings began.
The action now moves back to NCLAT which had earlier asked NCLT to start hearing ArcelorMittal’s resolution plan and decide the matter by February 11, failing which it said it would take over the matter. After NCLT rejected Essar promoters’ offer to pay full amount of Rs 54,389 crore as against Arcelor’s Rs 42,000 crore bid, the promoters had moved an appeal at NCLAT.
ArcelorMittal had to clear I7,000 crore in dues by group firms Uttam Galva and KSS petron, to be eligible to win the bid for Essar Steel.