NCLAT | Order of NCLT admitting S. 9 IBC application against ‘Sahara Q Shop’ upheld

National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT): Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya, Chairperson and Justice A.I.S. Cheema, Member (Judicial) and Kanthi Narahari, Member (Technical), dismissed an application filed under Section 9 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 against “Sahara Q Shop Unique Products Range Limited”.

Gurumoorthi filed an application under Section 9 of I&B Code against “Sahara Q Shop Unique Products Range Limited” which was admitted by the impugned order dated 15-12-2017 passed by NCLT, Mumbai. Romi Datta, Shareholder of “Sahara Q Shop Unique Products Range Limited” challenged the impugned order.

Appellant was represented by Saurab Jain, Neha Gupta, Mustafa Alam, Simranjeet Singh and Siddharth Jain, Advocates. Whereas, the Respondents were represented by Advocates Divyanshu Sahay and Shradha Narayan.

Appellant’s counsel submitted that the impugned order was passed ex-parte and suffers various infirmities.

In the appellant’s view, the Supreme court of India has prohibited ‘Sahara Group of Companies’ to pay any amount to any person. Also in an ongoing contempt petition titled as ‘SEBI v. SIRECL’ and ‘SEBI v. SHICL’ respectively, ‘Sahara Group of Companies’ had sought permission to clear the unpaid salaries of employees. Order of the Supreme Court disposed of the said applications. Therefore, according to counsel for the appellant, “Sahara Q Shop Unique Products Range Limited”—(Corporate Debtor) cannot pay any amount even to Respondent 1– Operational Creditor and therefore no default can be alleged.

Further, counsel for Respondent 1 submitted that orders relied upon by the counsel for the appellant, have no implication on the ‘Corporate Debtor’ at hand because even after passing of the said orders, the ‘Corporate Debtor’ has paid salary until it voluntarily stopped paying. Besides, ‘Sahara Group Companies’ have even settled claims relating to ‘Operational Debt’ amounting to Rs 20 crores as recently as 30-04-2019.

Tribunal on hearing the submissions of the parties and on perusal of the record, found that except vague statements by the appellant, there is nothing on record to suggest that Supreme Court passed a specific order prohibiting Sahara Q Shop Unique Products Range Limited” to release or pay any amount.

Also, Tribunal found that, on order passed by Adjudicating Authority (NCLT, Mumbai), it appeared that “Sahara Hospitality Limited” has settled the claim of “Delta Electro-Mechanical Private Limited” (Operational Creditor) amounting to Rs 20 crores.

Therefore, in the above view, Tribunal denied interfering with the impugned order dated 15-12-2017 and dismissed the appeal. [Romi Dutta v. S. Gurumoorthy, 2019 SCC OnLine NCLAT 448, decided on 14-08-2019]

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