The Kolkata Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is learnt to have dismissed applications filed by Srei 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 NCLT 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 Srei 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.
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 However, in October, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) superseded the boards of the two Srei companies and corporate insolvency process was initiated.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.