IL&FS Case: NCLT summons heads of Axis, StanChart India

The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Monday summoned Axis BankNSE 3.09 % chief Amitabh Chaudhry and Zarin Daruwala, the India head of foreign lender Standard Chartered Bank, in connection with an alleged contempt of court case pertaining to the IL&FS case.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) in a submission to the tribunal alleged that StanChart and Axis Bank were guilty of contempt of court as they had allowed Ramesh Bawa, the former chief of IL&FS Financial Services, to access his bank accounts and locker despite a court-administered freeze on his assets.

An Axis Bank spokesperson said the matter pertained to operations of these accounts in the bank’s branch and that it had high respect for all court/tribunal orders. The bank denied the allegations and said it would take appropriate steps.

StanChart has yet to receive a copy of the order, a spokesperson said, adding, “Upon review of the contents of the order, we will decide the way forward.”

The ministry’s counsel, Sanjay Shorey, submitted that Bawa and his wife accessed their joint locker on December 9 last year and then on March 26 this year, notwithstanding the asset freeze order of December 3. Inventory of the locker was yet to be determined.

Bawa had also allegedly transferred nearly Rs 1.14 crore from his account despite a court order restraining him and capping his withdrawals at Rs 2 lakh per month.

The NCLT issued notices to the CEOs of both banks, seeking their personal appearance, under the Contempt of Courts Act. The matter will now be heard on December 16 by a bench comprising Bhaskara Pantula Mohan and Rajesh Sharma.

A bench of VP Singh and Ravikumar Duraisamy had on December 3, 2018, restrained the former directors of the IL&FS group from mortgaging, selling, or creating third-party interests or disposing of movable, immovable or jointly held properties. It, however, had allowed them to withdraw Rs 2 lakh each per month from one of their accounts.

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