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HomeNewsNCLAT order in favour of us, says Pawan Hans bid winner

NCLAT order in favour of us, says Pawan Hans bid winner

Star9 Mobility, the winning bidder for Pawan Hans, has approached the government and claimed eligibility to become owners of the helicopter company as Cayman Island-based Almas Global – the consortium’s largest owner – has got a reprieve from the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) from proceedings under Section 74.

“As the NCLAT order has stated that they cannot be treated to any direction to initiate action but only to consider for filing complaint, we have approached the government saying that we shouldn’t be ruled out as we are no longer ineligible,” said an official of the consortium.

In April, the government had taken cognizance of the fact that the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) made adverse observations against Almas Global Opportunity Fund, the majority owner of Star9 Mobility, a consortium of three companies – Maharaja Aviation Private Limited (25%), Big Charter Private Limited (26%) and Almas Global (49%) – which had won the divestment bid for Pawan Hans in the same month, making it ineligible under guidelines of strategic disinvestment. However, Almas Global had challenged the order in NCLAT. The department of investment and public asset management officials told Economic Times that the government will take a decision after reviewing the order and taking advice from the law ministry.

The principal bench of NCLAT on October 21 ruled that any observations made by NCLT to initiate action against Almas Global under Section 74, sub-section (3) are neither binding nor determinative of any issue when the special court, where a complaint is filed, proceeds with the trial of offence. “The direction in order cannot be read to be a direction to initiate a complaint but has to be treated to be a direction to consider for filing a complaint,” the court said.

The Kolkata bench of the NCLT on April 20 ordered that action be taken against the management of Almas Global Opportunity Fund under Section 74 (3) of the bankruptcy code under which officials of a successful bidder can be imprisoned for a minimum of one year with a maximum tenure of five years and they should also be fined with a maximum penalty of up to ₹1 crore. The government had in April decided to sell the helicopter service provider for ₹211.14 crore to Star9 Mobility consortium.

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