The Supreme Court Friday admitted a plea challenging appellate tribunal NCLAT's order allowing JSW Steel to acquire Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd for Rs 19,700 crore by providing it immunity from prosecution by the Enforcement Directorate.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant refused however to put the sale on hold.
"The appeals are admitted. Senior Advocate Dr A M Singhvi, appearing for the Committee of Creditors, states that in case he receives money, he will return the said amount within two months, if the appeal succeeds," the bench said.
The apex court has put up the matter for hearing on April 15. A two-member bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya, had said that JSW Steel will be immune from the acts done by the former promoters of Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd (BPSL).
However, it had also said that prosecution against the former promoters under the money laundering act by the Enforcement Directorate can continue. It had also rejected the petitions filed by operational creditors, seeking higher claims.
On October 10, the ED had attached assets worth over Rs 4,025 crore of debt-ridden BPSL in connection with its money laundering probe linked to an alleged bank loan fraud by its former promoters.
JSW Steel, which emerged as the successful resolution applicant with its Rs 19,700 crore bid for BPSL, filed an appeal against the ED's move before the NCLAT.
The appellate tribunal had on October 14 directed the ED to immediately release the confiscated assets of BPSL in favour of the resolution professional of the debt-ridden firm.
While the ED was of the opinion that it can attach the property of BPSL under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the corporate affairs ministry has maintained that the ED cannot do so as the proceedings under the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code was going on.