NCLT-Mumbai to decide on APSEZ bid for Dighi Port

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The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Thursday gave its go-ahead to NCLT Mumbai to decide on Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd's bid for Dighi Port.

However, the outcome would be subject to its final order, the NCLAT added.

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has reserved its order over an application moved by the resolution professional of Dighi Port for approval of the Rs 650 crore resolution plan submitted by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) under Section 31 of the IBC.

The Committee of Creditors (CoC) of Dighi Port had voted in favour of the resolution plan by APSEZ and rejected the promoters' offer to settle the dues under Section 12A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

A two-member bench headed by Chairperson Justice S J Mukhopadhaya asked the creditors and the resolution professional of Dighi Port Ltd to file a comparative chart giving compatibility and feasibility of the plans in two weeks.

"Pendency of this appeal would not come in the way of adjudicating authority (NCLT) to decide" over it, the NCLAT said.

However, it added, "If any plan approved, it should be a subject matter of this appeal."

During the proceedings, the counsel appearing for promoters and suspended directors of the company submitted before the appellate tribunal that their offer of Rs 730 crore was rejected by the creditors, who selected a lower bid of Rs 650 crore by the Adani Group.

He further submitted that promoters have also proposed an upfront payment of Rs 100 crore within a week and unlike Adani, are also paying the operational creditors of the company.

However, the appellate tribunal said that promoter proposals under Section 12 A cannot be compared with the plans submitted by resolution applicants.

The NCLAT has directed the matter to be listed on December 2 for next hearing.

Earlier on September 19, the NCLAT was informed by the CoC that the bid submitted by APSEZ has been approved with 99.68 per cent votes.

It was also informed that the proposal by the promoters under Section 12A to settle the dues and bring the company out of insolvency was not accepted.

Dighi Port, which is being developed by Balaji Infra Projects in Raigad district of Maharashtra, is going through insolvency resolution process. APSEZ and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) were among the bidders.

The NCLAT had earlier in August directed the CoC to approve a resolution plan within three weeks and also to evaluate the proposal submitted by its promoters.

The lenders had rejected the resolution plan filed by APSEZ and approved JNPT's bid. However, APSEZ moved the NCLAT by filing an appeal.

Dighi Port went into insolvency proceedings in 2018 after the Mumbai bench of the NCLT allowed a recovery plea by DBM Geotechnics and Constructions Pvt Ltd, one of its operational creditors, for non payment of dues.

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