Relief for Anil Ambani as SC dismisses SBI plea

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea by the State Bank of India (SBI) seeking a vacation of the stay granted by Delhi High Court on personal bankruptcy proceedings against Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance Group.

The Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao, directed the Delhi High Court to consider the issue on October 6.

The bench, also comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat, gave liberty to SBI to seek modification of the stay order passed by the High Court on August 27. The three-judge bench said, “Why don’t you go back to high court to argue the Anil Ambani case?”

On August 27, the High Court’s division bench had passed an interim order staying the Mumbai bankruptcy tribunal’s order. The bench had said proceedings against corporate debtors will continue and issued notice to the central government, SBI and others. The bench had also restrained Ambani from selling or transferring any of his personal assets and listed the matter for hearing on October 6.

The SBI in its petition before the apex court last week, had submitted that the high court did not grant the bank an opportunity to file a counter affidavit and was not justified in passing an interim order staying insolvency proceedings against Ambani “who owes to the Bank public money to the tune of Rs 1,707 crore”.

Ambani had moved the Delhi high court against the appointment of a resolution professional on personal guarantees given to SBI for securing corporate loans.

Ambani had challenged the validity of the section pertaining to personal guarantee and asked if there was any enabling provision in the Insolvency Bankruptcy Code (IBC) for such an order.

In March, SBI had filed a petition in the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under section 95 of IBC for personal bankruptcy based on guarantees issued by Ambani. NCLT had appointed Jitender Kothari as a resolution professional (RP).

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