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Published on 23/04/2019 8:57:31 AM | Source: IANS

SC to lenders: Defer declaring DAMEPL dues as NPA

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The Supreme Court on Monday directed the consortium of lender banks that had financed the Delhi airport metro express line of Reliance Infrastructure to defer declaring outstanding dues as non-performing assets.

The bench of Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice A.S. Abdul Nazeer asked the banks to defer declaring outstanding dues as NPA as Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) opposed Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited's plea that it (DMRC) be asked to service DAMEPL debts.

Senior counsel P. Chidambram appearing for the DAMEPL told the court that DMRC, which is operating the airport metro express line, be asked to shoulder the responsibility of serving the debts. He also cited the earlier Delhi High Court order asking DMRC to service the debts.

Initially court appeared inclined to agree that DMRC should service the debts.

"Prima face we are with you. One who is running the train should service the debts", Justice Bobde said agreeing with Chidambram.

The court reiterated its position saying "today you are, in fact, running the train. The principle is that who is running (the business) and making money, should service the debts", Justice Bobde said.

Addressing the observation from the court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for DMRC said: "They were engaged on BOT basis. They had abandoned the train in the middle and DMRC had to take it over in public interest."

Mehta further told the court that DMRC is asking DAMEPL to come back and operate the train, but they are not back.

"We are suffering losses. We don't want to run. Let him come and run the line", Mehta said comparing the situation with that of Solomon baby.

One of the senior lawyers also appearing for DMRC said the Reliance company was facing proceedings under IBC, a position vehemently opposed by senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi who told the court that "none of the Reliance companies was facing action under IBC."

Rohatgi also appearing for the Delhi Airport Metro Express told the court that earlier under the direction of the Delhi High Court, DMRC was servicing the debts but has now stopped doing so.

Senior counsel Parag Tripathi also appearing for DMRC told the court that DMRC was serving debts as the matter was pending, but after High Court has held against the award, it was under no obligation to continue to service debts of DAMEPL.

The court is hearing pleas both by DAMEPL and DMRC who have challenged the Delhi High court order that had set aside an over Rs 5,800 crore arbitral award won by DAMEPL against DMRC.

The matter would be heard next on July 6.