Anil Ambani: SBI moves NCLT to recover Rs 1.2k-cr Reliance Communications loans from Anil Ambani

MUMBAI| NEW DELHI: State Bank of India (SBI) moved the insolvency court (NCLT) to recover more than Rs 1,200 crore from Anil Ambani under the personal guarantee clause of the bankruptcy law. It said Ambani had personally guaranteed loans taken by Reliance Communications, currently undergoing insolvency proceedings, which the state-owned lender is trying to recover.,

SBI moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under Section 97(3) of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), seeking its intervention to direct the insolvency board to nominate a resolution professional (RP).

A Week to File Reply

The RP would assess and submit a report on the assets owned by Anil Ambani.

On Thursday, lawyers representing Ambani sought time to file their reply. The NCLT bench presided over by BSV Prakash Kumar gave them a week.


“The matter relates to a corporate loan availed by Reliance Communications (RCom) and Reliance Infratel (RITL) and is not a personal loan of Mr Ambani,” a spokesperson for Anil Ambani said in an email. “RCom and RITL resolution plans were approved by 100% of their lenders in March 2020. These resolution plans are awaiting the approval of NCLT, Mumbai. Mr Ambani will file suitable replies, and NCLT has not given any relief to the petitioner.”

Senior counsel Venkatesh Dhond along with Ryan Dsouza is representing State Bank of India while Anil Ambani is represented by senior advocate Harish Salve.

“The bank is aiming to recover a sizeable amount from the personal guarantees made by Anil Ambani on loans to Reliance Communications,” said a bank official aware of the matter.

“Since there is no ban on personal insolvency cases, we have sought an urgent hearing of this matter in the NCLT.”

It is the policy of the bank not to comment on individual accounts and their treatment, an SBI spokesperson told ET.

“An application filed by the creditor for the appointment of resolution professional for the personal guarantor is required to be decided by the NCLT,” said Ashish K Singh, managing partner of law firm Capstone Legal. “The adjudication requires instructions to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) to nominate a resolution professional. As per the IBC, the nomination has to be done in 10 days upon receiving instructions from NCLT.”

The State Bank of India board had approved a resolution plan for Reliance Communications in March that envisaged lenders recovering around Rs 23,000 crore of their money, entailing a haircut of nearly 50%. RCom owes nearly Rs 5,000 crore to SBI.

Once the personal guarantee clause under the IBC is invoked, individuals are granted a moratorium of six months during which no fresh claims can be made with respect to corporate entities in which they are promoters.

“It’s a double-edged sword. If a company undergoing bankruptcy that is promoted by the personal guarantor has entered into preferential transactions favouring him, banks will not be able to proceed against the promoter to recover the amounts once the moratorium under personal insolvency kicks in,” a banker said on condition of anonymity.

In February, Ambani had claimed in a London court that his net worth had dropped to zero after the value of his investments collapsed. His submissions had come after China’s biggest lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China sued Ambani on behalf of a consortium of creditors to reclaim $700 million loans disbursed in 2012. These loans they said had been personally guaranteed.

Ambani denied furnishing any personal guarantees and said he had only provided a non-binding “comfort letter” when he signed the deal.

[Source – Economic Times]


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