The government’s demand to recover $314 million along with applicable interest from Videocon Industries Ltd. towards the former’s share of profit petroleum from Ravva Oil Field has been dismissed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
The government, through the Petroleum Ministry, had issued a demand notice dated October 22, 2018 to Videocon Industries, raising a demand to assign and allocate 100% of the sale proceeds/oil and gas invoices in favour of the government with immediate effect. This was for recovering the provisional sum of $314 million together with applicable interest towards the unpaid government share of profit petroleum.
“It is open to the corporate debtor [Videocon] to recover any amount as per law and award, if any, passed in its favour. It was in this background the adjudicating authority rightly held that during the period of moratorium, the Union of India, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (Exploration Division), cannot recover any amount, nor can issue demand notice to the corporate debtor through ‘Interim Resolution Professional’ to pay any amount. In the aforesaid background, we hold that the adjudicating authority rightly stayed [the] demand notice dated October 22, 2018 during the pendency of the resolution process as long as the moratorium is applicable on the corporate debtor,” the order reviewed by The Hindu said.
The share of profit petroleum belongs to the Ravva Oil Field, in which Videocon Industries has 25% participating interest.
NCLAT also upheld the NCLT’s decision that Ministry of Petroleum can lodge its claim for any legally enforceable right of recovery through ‘resolution professional’, thereby not rendering it without any remedy.
Upholding NCLT’s order, the NCLAT also restrained Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL), Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) and GAIL India from remitting the amount from the sale proceeds to the Union of India.―The Hindu