The National Company Law Tribunal bench V.P. Singh and Ravi Kumar Duraisamy questioned the motive of lenders of Andhra Bank who have accepted the one-time settlement offer from the absconding promoters of Sterling Biotech Ltd., a pharmaceutical contract manufacturer. The Andhra Bank tried to withdraw the insolvency proceedings against Sterling Biotech by a committee of creditors and if such plea would have been granted by the NCLT then it would mean that the absconding promoters of the company would get back the company with a clean balance sheet.
The offer is of Rs.3,100 crore, which is made by the promoters of Sterling Biotech. The one-time settlement offer is made against a loan of Rs.7,500 crore excluding interest and penalties from a group of lenders, while Sandesara group owes Rs.15,000 crore to lenders. The repayments will be done by June 2019.
All the four promoters of the group are facing the extradition orders. Earlier, the tribunal had given two-weeks to government and various investigation agencies to file their response like CBI, Income Tax Department, SEBI, and RBI. NCLT had also sought responses from the Enforcement Directorate which is currently inquiring money laundering case against the group of Rs.8,000 crore. But, till now only Enforcement Directorate and SEBI have filed their replies, and the corporate ministry had asked for more time. Now, the tribunal will hear the matter afresh on April 26.
The lawyer who was representing the lenders, said that, according to Section 12A of the Bankruptcy Code, the petition can be withdrawn/ to this, the tribunal had said that the settlement offer was coming from one Farhad Daruwalla, signed on behalf of the Sandasera group when the applicant before the NCLT is a specific legal entity, Sterling Biotech. The promoters are also accused of fraud, which is being investigated by the CBI and also for money laundering.