The State Bank of India (SBI) has moved its plea to the Supreme Court in order to recover their dues from Anil Ambani by raising his personal guarantee as he got a stay from the Delhi High Court against this move. There were three people aware of the development. An executive has stated that “since the order of Delhi High Court was in favor of Anil Ambani, SBI is seeking the aid of Supreme Court.”
SBI has not responded to any of the queries and even the representative of Anil Ambani is quiet. SBI is pleading for removal of stay on Anil Ambani’s assets which has been filed by Advocate Sanjay Kapur and Advocate EC Agrawala is appearing on behalf of Ambani. The Judgment of the division bench of the High Court was led by Vipin Sanghi on August 27 which put a stay on the Mumbai Bankruptcy Tribunal order. The tribunal had appointed an interim resolution professional (IRP), Jitender Kothari to evaluate the assets and liabilities of Ambani and respond to the plea of SBI demanding recovery of 1200 crores. The bank stated that Ambani had personally guaranteed loans taken in the name of Reliance Communication which is presently going through the bankruptcy procedures. SBI has filed a special leave petition (SLP) under Article 136 of the Constitution against not just Ambani but the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, and IRP Kothari too. The SLP was filed on Thursday.
One of the partners of Suri & Co states that “the case will not just be witnessed because of Anil Ambani but also because it is posing a challenge to the constitutional validity of personal guarantee in the IBC. The results of the case would determine the view and obligations of the personal guarantor in insolvency proceedings as per the Supreme Court which will put an end to the ongoing ambiguousness.” Ambani had clarified on 23rd June in his annual general meeting that the loans were not personal borrowings and the suit initiated by SBI arose due to a guarantee given for a loan which was availed by the Reliance Communications and Reliance Infratel in 2016 to refund the debts of Chinese and certain other Indian banks. One of the other partner Priyanka Sinha of law firm A&P Partner stated that “Delhi HC has taken the arguments of both the sides into consideration and put a stay on the proceedings against personal guarantors but the proceedings against the corporate debtor shall continue and remain the same.” As an interim measure, the court has taken certain precautions that the assets of a personal guarantor are not absolutely alienated, and this order will have an extensive consequence and effect in the provisions of IBC. The Reliance Communication (RCom) had filed for bankruptcy in 2019 and all the lenders had submitted their claims which sum up to Rs 49,000 crores. In March 2020, the SBI Board had agreed to a resolution plan for RCom that the lenders might envision the recovery of Rs 23,000 crore or less than half of their outstanding loans. And as far as the loan of SBI is concerned, RCom owes around 5000 crores to SBI.