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The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) today directed Vikram Bakshi to state on affidavit the amount received by him and his wife Madhurima Bakshi from McDonald’s for the shares held in their personal capacity in Connaught Plaza Restaurant Ltd.
The Appellate Tribunal also asked Bakshi to state on affidavit the total amount sought to be recovered from him through a decree by the Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in favour of HUDCO as well as the total amount that has already been deposited towards its satisfaction.
Additionally, Bakshi has also been directed to state the amount that it intended to pay as a one-time settlement amount to HUDCO.
The order was passed by a two-member Bench of the Appellate Tribunal headed by Chairperson Justice SJ Mukhopadhyay.
While McDonald’s is seeking to withdraw its appeal before the Appellate Tribunal against the reinstatement of Vikram Bakshi as the Managing Director of their joint venture Connaught Plaza Restaurant Ltd in light of the settlement between them, HUDCO is seeking a bite of around Rs. 190 crore from the settlement amount payable to Vikram Bakshi by McDonald’s.
Before the Appellate Tribunal could decide on allowing McDonald to withdraw the appeal, a final opportunity was given to the parties to reach an amicable settlement.
Consequently, Senior Advocate Amit Sibal (briefed by Tejas Karia from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas), appearing for Bakshi, today informed the Appellate Tribunal that he was willing to make a one-time settlement of around Rs 137 crore to HUDCO. Sibal further informed that Bakshi has received a sum of around Rs 10 crores from McDonald’s as consideration for his shares in the joint venture and the same has already been deposited with the DRT towards the settlement of dues.
After counsel for HUDCO, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta disputed the claim and the settlement offer, the Appellate Tribunal directed Bakshi to make averments with respect to the amount received pursuant to the settlement by him as well as other details on an affidavit.
“On the basis on such affidavit, the Appellate Tribunal may decide whether to allow the settlement“, Justice Mukhopadhyay said.
The Appellate Tribunal, however, rejected Mehta’s request to direct Bakshi to disclose the “total consideration” of the settlement with McDonald’s.
“There is privacy also.. why should the total amount be disclosed..”, Justice Mukhopadhyay said.
Before adjourning the matter for the day, Justice Mukhopadhyay also expressed its inclination to dispose of the dispute as soon as possible as it told SG Mehta,
“Sometimes work like a catalyst agent and not oppose for the sake of opposing..”
During the course of the proceedings, the Appellate Tribunal also urged HUDCO to accept the offer of Rs. 137 crore for now and recover the remaining amount through the DRT proceedings.
It is HUDCO’s contention that the settlement is in the teeth of an order passed by the DRT on February 2, 2016. This order had restrained Bakshi from transferring or creating any third-party interests in the shares held by him in CPRL.
The dispute before the DRT pertained to the recovery of a loan amount of nearly Rs 63 crore extended by HUDCO to Bakshi’s Ascot Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd in 2006. Bakshi and his wife Madhurima Bakshi executed personal guarantees for repayment of the loan, apart from various other securities in the loan agreement.
It is HUDCO’s case that any amount which is payable to Vikram Bakshi must be deposited with the DRT by McDonald’s for settlement of dues.
McDonald’s was represented by Senior Advocates Sudipto Sarkar and Rajiv Nayar.
The matter would be heard next on August 1.