Below the line

| Updated on May 16, 2021

Hear, hear

Internet abounds with videos on faux pas at online meetings, and the top most court is no exception. The Supreme Court was hearing Covid management cases, in which senior lawyers and Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal were also appearing. The court was facing technical issues intermittently during the hearing when, suddenly, a speech of Sonia Gandhi came on. A meeting of the CWC was on and Chidambaram and Sibal were listening to Gandhi’s initial remarks. The speech, somehow, got linked to the Supreme Court's e-hearing system. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and the judges heard the speech, all smiles, till the court’s technical team corrected the glitch, and the hearing re-commenced.

What price, the disclosures?

For some corporates, disclosures to stock exchanges/market regulator hold little sanctity. Recently, a Delhi-based financial services company floated a resolution seeking shareholder approval for paying its non-executive chairman a percentage of the revenues annually, running into several crores. Subsequently, the company issued a separate clarification to the stock exchange that the payment will not exceed ₹3 crore. This was done without amending the original resolution on which the shareholders were being told to vote.

In another case, a Mumbai-based company heading for an IPO disclosed in its DRHP that there was a tussle with one of its promoters on the issue of brand ownership. After the DRHP was submitted to SEBI, the company’s PR machinery called journalists suggesting that the disclosure should not be taken seriously. They got a senior executive to issue a statement contradicting the DRHP disclosure only to withdraw it after their legal advisors intervened.

Game, set, but no go!

The re-elected Pinarayi Vijayan's government is now functioning as a caretaker. While there's no guessing as to who the next CM will be, when and where the new government will be sworn in has not been settled, yet. The tentative date is May 20 and the venue the Central Stadium in the State Capital. But the caretaker has been forced to re-think in view of the threat from two forces. Cyclone Tauktae may blow over sooner than later, but not the Covid virus. So game, set, but no go, at least for now!

Liquor & lockdown

As the news of 10-day lockdown spread in Telangana, people rushed to stock up on essentials. Liquor shops were the first to be besieged, with people queuing up, with no social distancing happening. It was a sell-out for most wine shops, with one closing with sales of ₹3.5 crore in just a few hours. This forced authorities to announce that liquor shops will remain open when the lockdown is relaxed between 6 am and 10 am. Tipplers don’t want to be caught short like drugs and vaccines.

Debt is a debt

Industry circles were surprised when the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) admitted an IBC petition against Ahluwalia Contracts (India) Ltd and even appointed an Interim Resolution Professional.

For, the creditor — New Delhi-based A2 Interiors Products — was owed just ₹14.10 crore for civil and electrical works done for Ahluwalia Contracts, which had posted an income of ₹1,220.49 crore for the nine months of FY21.

However, the legal fraternity wasn’t amused.

The application was filed under Section 9 of the IBC, which allows a firm to move bankruptcy proceedings if the debtor owes more than ₹1 crore. Ahluwalia Contracts settled the payment issue with A2 Interiors and requested it to withdraw the insolvency process.

Court to the rescue

The Telangana High Court had to direct the State administration and the police not to stop ambulances coming into the State.

The order came as a major relief to patients who were trying to head to Hyderabad’s hospitals for emergency medicare.

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Published on May 16, 2021

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