RCom lenders seek first right over I-T refund

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2019 Published on March 12, 2019

Lenders of Reliance Communications (RCom) on Tuesday contended before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) that they have the first right over the ₹260 crore that the debt-ridden company has received as income-tax refund.

SBI, along with other members of the Joint Lenders’ Forum (JLF), said that under the RBI guidelines, they have the right over the retention and trust account in which the refunds have been deposited. A two-member Bench headed by Chairman Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya will continue the hearing tomorrow in the matter.

Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, representing SBI, submitted before the tribunal that JLF could not be blamed for not recovering ₹37,000 crore from sales of assets of RCom. “The settlement did not fail because of JLF. It failed because RJio declined to pay RCom’s past debt,” he said.

Lenders further said that the retention and trust account had been set up before the insolvency process against RCom, and thus it has to be kept out of the current proceedings.

“The retention and trust account has separate Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guideline which says that no third party encumbrances can be created. RCom cannot saddle the responsibility of paying Ericsson on the banks,” he said.

On Monday, the NCLAT had pulled up the SBI, the lead lender of RCom, along with others for giving a ‘false impression’ to monetise ₹37,000 crore from asset sales of the telecom company to RJio. The NCLAT was hearing the plea of RCom, which has approached the appellate tribunal seeking waiver over the moratorium placed by it on February 4.

However, its financial creditors are opposing its plea to release the income-tax refunds to clear the dues of Ericsson, to which the company owes ₹550 crore.

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Published on March 12, 2019
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