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NCLAT admits HUDCO's intervention plea claiming Rs 195 cr dues from Bakshi

Press Trust of India/New Delhi 15 May 19 | 06:16 PM

The National company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Wednesday admitted the intervention plea filed by state-owned Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) claiming dues of Rs 195 crore from Vikram Bakshi, the estranged India partner of US-based McDonald's.

A two-member bench headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya accepted the intervention plea filed by HUDCO and suggested the parties to settle the issue.

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"HUDCO intervention is accepted," said the NCLAT.

The bench has listed the matter on May 27 for next hearing.

Fast food chain McDonald's has reached an out-of-court settlement with Bakshi, buying out Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd, which runs the restaurants chain of the US-based fast food major in north and east India, from their joint venture.

HUDCO has filed an intervention application before the NCLAT, seeking its dues from Bakshi, before the deal with McDonald's is over.

During the proceedings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing HUDCO informed the appellate tribunal that a matter related to the dues of Rs 195 crore is going on at Delhi-based Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT).

"There cannot be a settlement as the matter is still pending there (DRT)... How can they do it," said Mehta adding that Bakshi would first have to clear HUDCO's dues before disposing his stake in CPRL.

According to him, the DRT has restricted Bakshi from selling or transferring his shares held in CPRL.

However, counsel from Bakshi and McDonald's requested the appellate tribunal to proceed as their settlement was almost close and requested to withdraw their respective petitions filed against each other at NCLAT.

On this, Justice Mukhopadhaya said: "We cannot annul a tribunal's order."

He further said: "If the settlement is contrary to law, then we can not admit it."

"You settle it (with HUDCO)...," added the NCLAT chairman.

During the proceedings, counsel from Bakshi and McDonald's informed about settlement and requested to withdraw the cases.

However, HUDCO opposed the move.

In 2013, HUDCO had filed a criminal case under the Negotiable Instruments Act against Bakshi in a 2012 cheque bounce case and said its dues owed to Bakshi had crossed Rs 75 crore.

HUDCO had also filed cases against Bakshi under Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act.

Earlier on May 6, estranged partners McDonald's and Bakshi had informed NCLAT that they were working towards an out-of-court settlement to end their dispute.

On May 9, they announced an out-of-court settlement with the US fast food chain agreeing to buy Bakshi from their joint venture that operated outlets of the chain in north and east India.

The details of the pact, including financial terms, were not disclosed.

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