IL&FS Case: NCLT Threatens Arrest For Axis Bank, Standard Chartered CEOs
The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal wants the chief executive officers of Axis Bank Ltd. and Standard Chartered Bank to be personally present at the next hearing of the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services case, failing which it will direct authorities to issue non-bailable warrants against them.
However, bank sources said they have never been directed by the tribunal to be present for the hearing and hinted at moving a review petition against the personal appearance of their CEOs.
An Axis Bank spokesperson denied that that the bank is in contempt of the tribunal order as it has not received any such notice so far.
"The matter pertains to operations of accounts (held by IL&FS Financial Services' ex-Managing Director Ramesh Bawa and his family) with our branch. The bank has high respect for all court/ tribunal orders. Bank denies the allegations and on receipt of the NCLT order, we will take appropriate steps," Axis Bank said in a statement to PTI.
Similarly, Standard Chartered India spokesperson also said, "we are yet to receive the copy of the NCLT order. Upon review of the contents of the tribunal order, we will decide the way forward."
The tribunal has fixed the next date of hearing on Dec. 16 and asked Chaudhry and Daruwala to be present and noted that both these bankers never presented themselves before the bench since the issue surfaced last December.
The case relates to these banks allowing ex-head of IL&FS Financial Services Ramesh Chandra Bawa and his family withdrawing money from their accounts with these banks and also accessing the lockers even after these accounts were frozen by the tribunal.
But the banks had submitted that the particular transactions took place before they got the copy of the tribunal order freezing these accounts.
The tribunal froze these accounts on Dec. 3, 2018.
Following this, the contempt notices were issued these three after the corporate affairs ministry had alleged that the banks facilitated Bawa to withdraw/transfer money from their accounts to his wife Ashakiran and daughter Akansha, apart from letting him access the lockers.
On April 26, the NCLT issued contempt notices to Chaudhry and Daruwala. Later it also issued a similar contempt notice Bawa for not following its directions.
The ministry also informed the tribunal that Bawa withdrew/ transferred Rs 1 crore and Rs 14 lakh from Axis Bank accounts in two instances violating the Dec. 3, 2018 NCLT order freezing the accounts.
The ministry counsel had also said Bawa accessed his lockers with these bank four times since Dec. 3.
While freezing the accounts, the NCLT on Dec. 3 had also restrained former directors of IL&FS Group from disposing of or creating any third-party rights on their properties.