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The National Company Law Tribunal on Monday reserved orders over two contempt pleas filed by Vikram Bakshi in his ongoing fight against McDonald's. Bakshi, the estranged partner of the US fast food chain, had filed a contempt plea before the NCLT against termination of franchise license of 169 outlets in the north and east India last month by McDonald's. He had also filed another plea against McDonald's Corporation alleging interference into the affairs of their 50:50 joint venture -- Connaught Plaza Restaurant Ltd (CPRL). A NCLT bench headed by Chairman Justice M M Kumar reserved its order on both the contempt pleas.
The tribunal is expected to pronounce its order tomorrow. During the proceedings, Bakshi's counsel Tejas Karia submitted that by terminating the agreement with CPRL, McDonald's has violated the NCLT order dated July 13. On July 13, the tribunal restored Bakshi as the MD of CPRL and restrained McDonald's Corporation, the parent company of McDonald's India Pvt Ltd (MIPL), from interfering in the functioning of CPRL. "To circumvent the NCLT order,the respondent (McDonald's) has terminated the agreement and we are seeking relief against shutting down of the restaurants," Karia said. Bakshi's side also alleged McDonald's Corporation of interfering into the affairs of CPRL. However, senior advocate Iqbal Chagla appearing on behalf of McDonald's said that license was terminated because of the unpaid royalty. "The American company has no role to play as the license was granted by MIPL to whom they (CPRL) have not paid and have cancelled it," he said, adding that it was a contractual right. He also mentioned that Bakshi has also approached the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) asking for a buy out his share, where the next hearing is on September 21. Bakshi has been at loggerheads with the fast food chain over the management of CPRL after he was ousted from the post of MD of the McDonald's franchisee in August 2013. McDonalds's India had asked CPRL not to use its brand system, trademark, designs and its associated intellectual property, among others, within 15 days of the termination notice which gets over on September 6. Bakshi had moved the NCLT following termination of license by MIPL.