Aircel dues: GTL Infra moves banks, NCLT seeking recovery of ₹12,400 crore

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on March 26, 2018 Published on March 26, 2018

Says operator’s former directors fled India before it filed for insolvency

Debt-laden Aircel faces more trouble with its largest creditor, GTL Infrastructure, seeking the intervention of the company’s common lenders to recover ₹12,400 crore in dues and an investigation into the reasons for the telecom operator’s insolvency filing.

Separately, GTL Infra has approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) alleging “misstatement of accounts and information” by Aircel’s management.

The company also asked the NCLT to direct Aircel’s former directors, who had resigned, not to leave the country without the tribunal’s permission.

GTL Infra has written to the lenders, including State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Union Bank, claiming ₹400 crore in dues and contractual claims of ₹12,000 crore. The contractual claims were for rentals over the lock-in period, banking sources told BusinessLine.

“GTL Infra has requested the banks help it recover the dues,” one of the sources said.

NCLT approached

On Monday, GTL Infra moved the NCLT stating “misstatement of accounts and information by the management” of Aircel. “It is respectfully submitted that the intervener has also long suspected that there were misstatements of accounts and information by the management of the petitioner (Aircel). Towards this end, the intervener has been writing to certain common lenders to try and alert them of the intervener’s suspicions,” GTL Infra said in its NCLT petition.

“The intervener also believes that these issues ought to be immediately investigated by the Interim Resolution Professional to safeguard the interests of all lenders and creditors,” it added.

In the petition, GTL Infra alleged that Uthaya Kumar and Chan Chee Beng (nominee director and an executive from promoter Maxis Bhd) have fled the country before Aircel’s filing of a voluntary insolvency application.

Aircel had started defaulting on operational payments in October 2017. The operator, in an earlier NCLT filing, had admitted to have assets worth ₹32,000 crore and 80 million subscribers. Aircel had also admitted to have posted revenue of ₹514 crore in January 2018 from GSM operations, GTL Infra said in the NCLT filing.

When contacted, GTL Infra confirmed the NCLT filing, but declined to divulge details, stating the matter is “sub-judice”. The company also declined to comment on the mails to lenders. Aircel also declined to comment.

In 2010, GTL Infra paid more than ₹8,200 crore to buy Aircel’s 17,500 towers with 21,000 tenancies, with a commitment for an additional 20,000 tenancies. Aircel uses GTL Infra’s towers for its network.

Published on March 26, 2018

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.