SC issues notices to Sesa Goa, IFCI on Bellary Steel buyout

A bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph issued notices to Sesa Goa and Industrial Financial Corporation of India (IFCI) directing them to file their replies within three weeks.

The apex Court also directed the parties concerned to maintain status-quo as of today till the next date of hearing. JSW Steel challenged the orders of the Delhi High Court which had approved the Rs 220-crore bid of Vedanta Group company and directed IFCI to sell the debt-ridden Bellary Steel to Sesa Goa.

Last month, Sesa Goa had said that it has acquired the assets of BSAL, put on the block by a consortium of lenders led by IFCI for Rs 220 crore. The assets of the acquired company have been transferred on "as is where is" basis to Sesa Goa effective March 22, the Vedanta Group firm had said in a statement.

BASL, a Karnataka-based company promoted by S Madhav and S Parvathi, had embarked on to set up an integrated 0.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) capacity steel plant with provision of taking it to 2 MTPA, at Bellary on 700 acres of freehold land.

However, BASL could not complete the project and ran into debt, following which the lenders consortium led by IFCI put it on the block for sale. The selloff process was eventful. Sesa Goa fought a legal battle against the process adopted by IFCI in December, in which JSW Steel was declared winner for its bid of Rs 210 crore for acquiring the asset of BASL.

However, Sesa Goa in its plea before the high court in January this year contended that IFCI initially announced the Vedanta Group firm as the only qualified bidder and declared the company winner verbally for its bid of Rs 206 crore. Following this, the Delhi High Court allowed the Sesa Goa to rebid in an inter se bidding process, where the Goa-based company put a successful bid of Rs 220 crore.

Inter se bidding process means the shortlisted companies will have to rebid with their fresh offer.

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