Essar Steel: NCLT rejects RIL plea to be heard as operational creditor

Essar Steel: NCLT rejects RIL plea to be heard as operational creditor

The Ahmedabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Tuesday turned down Reliance Industries’ application to be heard as an operational creditor.

RIL opposed ArcelorMittal India’s Rs 42,000 crore resolution plan for Essar Steel before the two-member bench of Harihar Prakash Chaturvedi and Manorama Kumari.

The bench, in its order on Tuesday, however, accepted admitting right of RIL to get its claim registered as an operational creditor. RIL had joined the other operational creditors in the Essar Steel Insolvency case and knocked the doors of NCLT Ahmedabad and claimed Rs 16.41 crore believed to be accrued out of fuel and other services provided to Essar Steel’s Hazira plant near Surat in south Gujarat.

In its application, RIL had made the resolution professional (RP) for Essar Steel and State Bank of India, the lead banker of ESL’s Committee of Creditors (CoC) as respondents.

As per the Supreme Court order, only one operational creditor to be heard in the case and hence RIL plea cannot be considered as its claim is less than 10% said NCLT adding that RIL is not eligible to oppose resolution professional.

Responding to the application, RP’s counsel told the NCLT that claims by operational creditors, including RIL’s, worth over Rs 1 crore will only get up to Rs 99 lakh under the plan. Scores of operational creditors, including the Gujarat government’s distribution company Dakshin Gujarat Vij Company and Gujarat Energy Transmission have filed petitions seeking dues worth crores of rupees.

RIL has filed two separate pleas, one seeking its entire claim to be considered, giving it status of an operational creditor, and be heard as one. The second plea opposed ArcelorMittal resolution plan. The tribunal said that the application succeeds on partial ground and allowed RIL to approach resolution professional and get its claim registered on the books and be submitted before the panel of financial lenders as operational creditor.

RIL’s application has come after ArcelorMittal’s resolution plan was approved by 92% of lenders and placed before the NCLT.