The Calcutta High Court has directed clubbing of all winding up petitions against Abhijeet Group company Abhijeet Ferrotech Limited, which has a plant at Visakhapatnam.
Winding up petitions, which seek liquidation of a company to recover creditors’ dues, are under way against three companies of the Nagpur-based Abhijeet Group. Apart from Abhijeet Ferrotech, the other companies are Abhijeet Projects and Corporate Ispat Alloy Limited (CIAL). Abhijeet Group companies are registered in West Bengal due to which all the cases are filed in Calcutta High Court.
After a public notice was issued in newspapers about a month ago, for other creditors to take note, as the next step in a winding up plea all the different petitions were clubbed into one. There are around 15 petitions, including those of ex-employees and other creditors in this case. The final hearing is due on August 4.
In a similar move, all the petitions against Abhijeet Projects were clubbed into one. This was also done in the petition against Corporate Ispat and Alloys Limited (CIAL).
This means that the cases are now in final stage. There are over 20 petitions against all the three companies now clubbed together. The total due claimed is at around Rs 4 crore, said a source involved in the case.
Earlier, the court had ordered winding up of Corporate Power Limited (CPL), the flagship company of Abhijeet Group. However, the company paid up the dues running into a few lakhs.
Apart from bank defaults, Abhijeet Group has also not paid creditors and employees’ dues. The company’s cash crunch began after the CBI initiated a probe into the coal block allocation cases. The company soon began defaulting in payment of salaries.
Abhijeet Ferrotech, on the other hand, has maintained that a winding up petition can be filed only by a creditor. An employee is not a creditor within the meaning of section 493 of Companies Act, which deals with winding up, says the submission by Abhijeet Group counsel.
The company also argues that it has so far not become insolvent nor are its assets in jeopardy. The plant at Visakhapatnam is still operational with 226 employees.
In the petition, its former employees have claimed unpaid salary, leave travel allowance, conveyance and medical allowances apart from variable pay. On this, the company argues that in one of the cases the staffer did not complete formalities related to ‘no dues’ and has been absconding from duty.