NEW DELHI: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal has called out lenders of Jaypee Infratech for engaging in “backdoor negotiations” with the Adani group on the resolution of the debt-laden real estate company after the committee of creditors rejected a revised resolution plan proposed by government-owned NBCC.
Adani group had submitted a non-binding proposal to lenders of Jaypee Infrastructure, offering to infuse Rs 1,700 crore in fresh equity and begin delivery of flats to homebuyers within nine months, according to a counsel for the lenders. The group has also offered to pay .`1,000 crore to settle dues of workmen and financial creditors.
A three-member NCLAT bench led by Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya was not convinced. “NBCC is a government company. One can rely on it,” the bench said. “How do you know that they (Adani Group) will complete the projects within nine months? If Jaypee Infratech cannot complete, they will not complete. They don’t have experience in infrastructure.”
The bench directed representatives of lenders, homebuyers, directed representative of lenders, homebuyers, NBCC and other stakeholders to appear before it to modify the plan to make it acceptable to all stakeholders after it was informed that the bid by NBCC had not been approved by the committee of creditors (CoC).
NBCC had proposed to infuse Rs 200 crore as equity to finish incomplete projects by 2023 and transfer 950 acres of land worth Rs 5,000 crore to lenders.
Ramji Srinivas, counsel for IDBI, said lenders have opposed the NBCC bid in part because it required that lenders provide an additional Rs 1,400 crore to NBCC for the completion of the projects.
A counsel for the resolution professionals said homeowners constituting 34.75% of the CoC had approved NBCC’s resolution plan under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), while all lenders representing 40.70% of CoC rejected the plan. Homebuyers representing about 23.8% of CoC abstained from voting while 1.44% voted against the NBCC bid.
A resolution plan requires the approval of at least 66% of CoC to be accepted.
Jaypee Infratech has total outstanding debt of around Rs 9,800 crore and has failed to deliver flats to over 23,000 homebuyers. Homebuyers form around 60% of the committee of creditors while 13 lenders constitute the remaining 40%.
The NCLAT bench stressed that its priority was to provide a resolution to homebuyers and that it would decide in this case that the maximisation of assets on the cases involving allottees may be defined by the maximization of the flats that can be provided to allottees. “We are not bothered about the banks, we are bothered about allottees,” the bench said, adding that if no resolution plan was accepted, the bench may allow the promoters to enter into an agreement with homebuyers as a separate class of creditors to complete the housing projects.