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NCLT admits Aircel's bankruptcy plea, rejects GTL Infrastructure's intervention

Published: Mar 09, 2018

By TIOLCORPLAWS News Service

MUMBAI, MAR 9, 2018: The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Thursday admitted the bankruptcy petition filed by Aircel Ltd and rejected the intervention sought by GTL Infrastructure Ltd, an operational creditor of the Chennai-based telecom company.

GTL had earlier filed a case against Aircel in the Delhi High Court over non-payment of dues. It intervened in the bankruptcy case, arguing that the High Court in a 29 January interim order had said that separate applications had to be filed before it for issues such as sale of assets.

However, NCLT said that an operational creditor cannot intervene at this juncture (before the admission of insolvency petition) and admitted Aircel's insolvency plea.

Aircel and its subsidiaries Aircel Cellular Ltd and Dishnet Wireless Ltd together owe around Rs 50,000 cr to creditors. The combined liability of the firms towards financial creditors stands at Rs 15,545 cr and towards operational creditors at around Rs 35,000 cr.

Aircel's lawyer argued that the operator was not prohibited by the high court from filing for bankruptcy, and said the admission of the firm for insolvency proceedings required a sense of “urgency” as several stakeholders were being affected. He said the appointment of an interim resolution professional would increase the probability of maximizing the asset value instead of continuing in a distressed state.

Aircel's assets including spectrum licences and fibre, are valued at around Rs 32,362 cr.

Aircel Group had on 1 December 2017 informed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that it intended to surrender its licence in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh (West), following which the company shut services in these circles from 31 January.

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