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

Rajesh Kurup | | Updated on: Mar 26, 2018
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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

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