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Claims of Rs 160 crore filed against Oyo subsidiary as NCLAT refuses to stay corporate insolvency proceedings

Creditors have submitted claims for Rs 160 crore from Oyo subsidiary Oyo Hotels and Homes Pvt. Ltd. (OHHPL), against which a corporate insolvency proceeding began earlier this month under the directions of the National Company Law Tribunal. This was first reported by Entrackr.

On April 7, the NCLT had admitted OHHPL under the corporate insolvency resolution process after one of its hotel partners filed a Rs 16 lakh claim against the company. The petition to begin insolvency proceedings was filed by Rakesh Yadav, who was owed Rs 16 lakhs in dues, since OHHPL started defaulting on payments. The tribunal had asked OHHPL’s creditors to file their claims with proof to Keyur J Shah, the appointed interim resolution professional by April 15.

OHHPL had challenged the NCLT’s order with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, which on April 8 stayed the formation of the committee of creditors (CoC). However, the tribunal did not stay the corporate insolvency resolution process, permitting people to submit their claims.

The IRP may not constitute Committee of Creditors till the next date. In the meantime, the ‘Interim Resolution Professional’ will ensure that the company remains going concern and will take assistance of the (suspended) Board of Directors. – NCLAT’s April 8 order 

Keyur Shah told the court that claims of Rs 160 crore had been submitted. The claims have been received from both financial and operational creditors, per the NCLAT’s order. According to Entrackr, OHHPL has accused Yadav of soliciting and influencing its other hoteliers, hotel partners, and third parties to file intervention applications in the appeal and raise claims against the company. According to the publication, Yadav’s lawyers opposed Oyo’s claims in court.

On April 16, OHHPL asked that the CIRP be stayed since the amount payable to Yadav by My Preferred Transformation and Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. has already been paid. Oyo had raised this defense before the NCLT as well, when it said that OHHPL’s business was transferred to (MPT) in June 2019, making it the legal debtor to Yadav.

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The NCLAT said it would inappropriate to stay the CIRP proceedings and that Yadav deserved to file a reply to OHHP’s affidavit. The matter will now be heard on May 10; Yadav has been directed to file written submissions within two weeks from April 16.

In an announcement on April 17, a day after the NCLAT hearing, Oyo rubbished the creditors’ claims, stating that they were unverified. It said that the “claims are received by the IRP as part of the standard process but they aren’t reviewed, assessed, contested or confirmed, or even adjudicated (as some of these may pertain to ongoing disputes) yet”.

The company said the claims are “arbitrary and are aspirational demands, many of which are currently under dispute and without basis”. Although the IRP Keyur Shah did not reveal any details of the claims, Oyo said one claimant submitted a claim for Rs 50 for reputation damage.

The company seems confident that the actual amount will be revised down after the legitimacy of the claims are verified. “These claims do not straightaway form dues or payments by OHHPL. Such claims await evaluation basis factual evidence and substantive documents and could be rejected by the IRP,” Oyo said, adding that “Needless to mention, such claims are bound to be rejected by the IRP during the process of verification of such claims”.

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