Government claims of USD 314 million from Videocon India for Ravva dismissed

New Delhi: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has rejected the oil ministry's plea seeking USD 314 million (around Rs 2,245 crore) from insolvency-bound Videocon Industries in unpaid profit petroleum from the Ravva oil and gas fields in the eastern offshore.

The ministry had on October 22 last year sent Videocon a demand notice for payment of government's share of profit petroleum, which is calculated after all capital and operating cost is deducted from the sale of oil and gas.

Videocon, which holds 25 per cent stake in Ravva oil and gas fields, had been admitted to insolvency and the resolution professional (RP) overseeing the process approached the Mumbai-bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against the demand saying the company cannot be asked to part with any money, including share of profit, during the moratorium period. NCLT upheld the RP's plea, which was challenged before the NCLAT.

A three-member NCLAT bench headed by chairperson Justice S J Mukhopadhaya also upheld the same and said that the petroleum ministry could not recover these proceeds during the moratorium period from Videocon Industries, against whom insolvency was initiated in June 2018.

"NCLT rightly held that during the period of moratorium, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas cannot recover any amount nor can issue demand notice to the corporate debtor through 'interim resolution professional' to pay any amount," said the NCLAT.

The appellate tribunal also upheld the NCLT order staying the demand note by the ministry and directing to approach the RP for recovery of the amount.

"We hold that NCLT rightly stayed demand notice dated 22nd October, 2018 during the pendency of the resolution process as long as the 'moratorium' is applicable on the corporate debtor," said the NCLAT.

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