Dunlop 'bad' intent rap

Calcutta, Feb. 6: Calcutta High Court today said the Dunlop management's "intention is bad" when the company failed to show "it has at least Rs 10 crore in hand" to secure a stay on the wind-up order.

The division bench of Justices G.C. Gupta and T.K. Das said the Pawan Ruia management has siphoned off Rs 2,300 crore ' the estimated amount the company has earned by "fraudulently" selling assets ' and was trying to "grab" the Sahagunj plot.

"The company has dishonoured the good wishes of both the present and earlier governments of the state. All the while, the management went on saying it would revive the company," Justice Gupta said.

"The company has siphoned off Rs 2,300 crore. Its intention is bad. The management is saying that it will revive the company. Then why is it not depositing Rs 10 crore before the court or showing documents that it has the amount in hand?" the judge asked.

The court gave Dunlop time till Friday to comply with its order of showing that it has "at least Rs 10 crore in hand". It threatened to dismiss Dunlop's plea for a stay if the deadline was not met.

The Dunlop lawyer today sought leniency and told the bench that his client was ready to deposit Rs 2 crore today and another Rs 3 crore in the next 30 days but the bench refused to allow this.

Appearing for the state, which is a party to the case, advocate-general Anindya Mitra tried to intervene but the judge stopped him, saying: "Mr advocate-general, you are also aware about the intention of the company. It is trying to grab the land (in Sahagunj)."

On February 1, Justice Sanjib Banerjee had, on the basis of petitions by 17 creditors, ordered the winding up of Dunlop India Ltd and directed the official liquidator to take over the assets of the company with "immediate effect".

The company had then appealed before the division bench and prayed for a stay on Justice Banerjee's order till the disposal of the case by the division bench.

A government lawyer associated with the case today said: "The state government wants the revival of the company. If the court allows the management to run the company, the government will cooperate."

At the time Dunlop declared suspension of work on October 8, 2011, the company had around 750 workers.

The wind-up petition was filed in 2008 when two creditors ' E.V. Mathaia and Company and A.K. Kundu and Company ' moved pleas against Dunlop. Both the companies had claimed that Dunlop could not pay for equipment they had supplied.

Subsequently, 15 other companies joined the case. According to the court's assessment, Dunlop owes over Rs 1,000 crore.

Madura Coats Limited moved a petition in 2009 claiming dues of Rs 2 crore. It also sought a wind-up order to get back its dues.

On March 26 last year, Justice Banerjee had barred Ruia from selling any property of the company and appointed a provisional liquidator.

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