The National Company Law Tribunal, Ahmedabad admitted the insolvency application against instant drink mix Rasna for unpaid dues on Friday.
With this, a moratorium period is in place. “The order of moratorium shall have effect from the date of this order till the completion of the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process or until this Adjudicating Authority approves the Resolution Plan under sub-section (1) of Section 31 or passes an order for liquidation of Corporate Debtor under Section 33 of the IBC, 2016, as the case may be,” the NCLT said.
The application for insolvency was filed by Bharat Road Carrier Private Limited to initiate the insolvency process against Rasna, claiming a debt of Rs 71 lakh plus interest on service tax and interest on the unpaid amount as of March 31, 2019. Bharat Road Carrier said they had transported various goods to Rasna for which they had raised various invoices from April 2017 to August 2018.
Rasna stated that sometime in November 2018, it had filed a case against Bharat Carrier for damages amounting to Rs 1.25 crore before the Commercial Court at Ahmedabad. The case was referred to mediation. During the mediation process, Bharat Carrier did not appear before the mediator and, hence, mediation failed, Rasna said.
“Notice was issued by the Hon’ble Commercial Court upon the Operational Creditor on April 30, 2019. Until the date of filing the reply, the Operational Creditor has not appeared before the Hon’ble Commercial Court,” Rasna alleged.
Rasna said that there are two issues against the insolvency process from their side. The first is the suppression of facts by Bharat Carrier and the second is the pre-existing dispute between the parties.
The tribunal noted that it is not in dispute that the services of Bharat Carrier were availed by the Corporate Debtor. “It is seen that notice under Section 8 of IBC, 2016 was duly served on the Corporate Debtor (Rasna),” said the Tribunal.
The court noted that despite emails from Bharat Carrier to Rasna to clarify reasons for the dispute, Rasna did not provide reasons.
“Under the said circumstances, this Tribunal is left with no other option than to proceed with the present case and initiate the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process in relation to the Corporate Debtor, which ordinarily shall get completed within 180 days, reckoning from the date this order is pronounced,” the tribunal said.
The tribunal has directed that the supply of essential goods or services to Rasna, if continuing, shall not be stopped, suspended, or interrupted during the moratorium period as per provisions of IBC, 2016.
Bharat Carrier has been directed to pay an advance of Rs 2 lakh to the Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) Ravindra Kumar Goyal within two weeks from today.