The process to recover the bad debt of two Bhushan companies seems to be headed for a legal tussle, with the company’s lenders inviting UK-headquartered Liberty House to submit its bid for the assets, well after the deadline.

The last date to bid for Bhushan Steel was February 3; it was February 8 for Bhushan Power and Steel. Only JSW Steel and Tata Steel had submitted bids by the deadline.

Speaking to BusinessLine , a Liberty House spokesperson said: “We have been invited by the lenders to bid for both the Bhushan assets and we will be doing so in two weeks.”

On why the company did not submit a bid before the deadline, the spokesperson said Liberty House had been finalising its India strategy and analysing its prospects.

Dubbing the special invite to Liberty House “a natural injustice”, an official from one of the original bidders said that with the bidding amount for the Bhushan assets now in the public domain, the lenders’ action could now be challenged in court.

JSW Steel had bid ₹29,700 crore for Bhushan Steel, with an offer to repay ₹28,000 crore up front and the rest in equity. Tata Steel, the only other contender for the asset, submitted a bid for ₹24,000 crore. The lacklustre response from the steel companies will force banks to forego a major portion of the ₹44,500-crore debt they are trying to recover through the sale of assets.

JSW Steel is also the highest bidder for Bhushan Steel and Power, agreeing to pay ₹13,000 crore. Tata Steel has bid ₹11,500 crore for the asset.

Interestingly, in the Binani Cement insolvency case, the resolution professional had asked all the suitors who placed bids earlier to revise them after an additional liability of about ₹1,600 crore cropped up. Binani Cement had extended a corporate guarantee to Binani Industries to acquire a fibreglass asset in Europe in 2012.

Binani Cement’s lenders have made a claim of ₹6,300 crore, including that of Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Co and a corporate guarantee extended by IDBI Bank and SBI.

While JSW Cement was leading the race in the first round with a bid of ₹4,500 crore, sources said Aditya Birla Group company UltraTech Cement is now ahead with a bid of ₹7,000 crore and an offer to pay $950 million (₹6,000 crore) up front.