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NCLT Kolkata dismisses Kanoria application against KPMG forensic report

Sources say tribunal also rejected contempt petition filed by Kanoria after Punjab & Sind Bank declared the account fraud

NCLT | Srei | KPMG report

Ishita Ayan Dutt  |  Kolkata 


The Kolkata Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is learnt to have dismissed applications filed by promoter, Hemant Kanoria, challenging the KPMG forensic report.

Sources close to the lenders and Kanoria said that the main application filed by Kanoria against the KPMG forensic audit and the contempt petition after Punjab & Sind Bank (PSB) declared the account fraud, were both rejected by the tribunal. The order was not uploaded till the time of going to the press.

“Restriction on classification by PSB continues basis Delhi HC stay. We are evaluating the order and would be firming up our next move shortly. All options, including filing with higher courts, are open for consideration,” said Dhruv Bhalla, spokesperson, Kanoria Foundation.

Last month, Delhi High Court, in an order had restrained the bank from taking any further steps on the basis of its reclassification till the next hearing. which was listed for August 23, 2022.

The petition by Kanoria before the Kolkata Bench of the challenging the forensic report had been filed in January.

In an application moved on January 19, Kanoria sought setting aside the appointment of KPMG by Axis Bank and UCO Bank (the lead banks in the consortium of lenders) as the auditor for and restraining the banks from conducting or proceeding with the process of audit through the auditing and advisory firm.

It had also sought a restraining order from publishing any information based on the alleged “improper” audit by KPMG or from taking any action based on the report till the disposal of the application.

While the order in the matter was awaited, on April 19, Punjab & Sind Bank declared outstanding dues of as fraud. Kanoria thereafter moved a contempt petition before the Kolkata Bench.

The contempt petition has also been dismissed by the Kolkata Bench, sources said.

KPMG, incidentally, was appointed by lenders in April 2021 when a loan recast was being considered for Srei. However, in October, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) superseded the boards of the two Srei and corporate insolvency process was initiated.

Under the process, the total amount of admitted claims of commercial banks, as of January 31, 2022, stood at Rs 22,964.64 crore while total admitted claims including domestic institutions and ECB lenders was Rs 31,918.46 crore.

The deadline for submission of resolution plans is understood to have been extended on request from some prospective resolution applicants.

Prospective bidders were informed on Tuesday that the CoC had passed a resolution to extend the last date of submission of resolution plan, which was May 17. The revised deadline is now June 7, said sources.

On May 11, Srei had informed stock exchanges about the fifth meeting of the consolidated committee of creditors of Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited and Srei Equipment Finance Limited. The filing mentioned that the consolidated CoC had discussed update of CIRP including due diligence process and extension of timeline for submission of resolution plans. There were 13 prospective resolution applicants in the final list.

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First Published: Tue, May 17 2022. 19:51 IST