BANK STREET SECURITIES PVT LTD & ORS. v. REGIONAL DIRECTOR, NORTHERN REGION [NCLAT]
Company Appeal (AT) No.340 of 2018
A.I.S. Cheema & Balvinder Singh. [Decided on 17/01/2019]
Companies Act, 2013 – Amalgamation – Petition filed under old Act transferred to NCLT – Based on the report of the RD amalgamation was rejected – Whether correct – Held, Yes.
It appears that the appellants had filed first motion before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi and the Court was pleased to dispense with the requirement of convening meetings of equity shareholders, secured and unsecured creditors of the Companies in view of their consent being obtained. The appellant then filed joint petition for sanction of scheme of amalgamation before the Court vide second motion under Section 391 to 394 of Companies Ac, 1956 (“Old Act” in short). Notice was issued to the Registrar of Companies/ Regional Director and Official Liquidator. Notice by newspaper publication was also directed. The second motion petition, before it could be decided came to be transferred to the Learned NCLT in view of the powers getting vested with NCLT.
It is stated that when the matter came up before NCLT, NCLT heard the same and considered report of the Regional Director and concluded that certain companies in the scheme were carrying on NBFC activities and approval of Reserve Bank of India had not been taken and the petition required to be rejected.
Decision: Appeal dismissed.
We have heard the learned counsel for the appellant and perused the record. A copy of the report of Regional Director has been filed at Annexure-21. The report shows that the Regional Director had issued query to the appellant company by letter dated 8th March, 2016 and the letters returned undelivered. Then one Advocate Mr. Ashish Middha by letter dated 15th March, 2016 filed reply with the Regional Director on behalf of the company. The impugned order shows that the ROC during the pendency of the matter before NCLT took action under Section 12(1) r/w Section 12(4) of the Companies Act, 2013 and imposed penalty which came to be reduced by Regional Director in an appeal and which penalty was paid by the appellants. This relates to not giving notice of change of the registered office to the Registrar of Companies. This should reflect on working of these appellant companies with regard to how bona fide their actions are.
It is apparent, from paras 7, 8 and 9 of the report of the Regional Director, that the appellants who had made their submissions to the Regional Director through letter dated 15.03.2016 were unable to convince the Regional Director regarding the issue of NBFC. Report shows that Regional Director was satisfied that the appellant companies were prima facie engaged in investment activities or extending loans and advances to certain parties like corporate bodies and there was no mention that these companies are registered with RBI as NBFC to carry on such business.
The learned counsel for appellants argued that if the appellant company No.1,2,4,5,6 had ‘zero’ income and transferee company also had ‘zero’ income and so it cannot be said that both the conditions i.e. more than 50% of assets should be invested in financial activities and more than 50% of income should be from financial activities were satisfied.
Having gone through the matter if the transferor companies show ‘zero’ income from operations and still show huge investments to be their assets, the Regional Director rightly observed that the intrinsic value of these investment (assets) is not known and the reasonableness of the proposed exchange ratio could not be ascertained. Such accounts showing ‘zero’ income and showing huge investments as assets must be said to be not inspiring confidence. If there are huge investments as assets and it shows that financial assets are more than non-financial assets and income from operation is zero without its break up between financial income and non-financial income, the required criteria to determine the principal business of the company being finance company gets met. The NCLT not being satisfied from the case put up by the appellant declined to accept the scheme and we find it difficult to interfere with the impugned order.
Looking to these definitions as mentioned above, when the report of the Regional Director shows that the appellant companies were engaged in investment activities or extending loans and advances, these above provisions would be attracted. Even with or without the circular of Reserve Bank of India dated 19th October, 2006, keeping in view the above legal provisions, the appellants have not been able to satisfy the Regional Director or the NCLT that they are not involved in NBFC activities. The counsel for the appellants has not been able to satisfy us also. The appeal does not even plead that the appellants are not indulging in NBFC activities. The appeal memo while referring to the appellant companies merely stated that the objects of the companies were as amended from time to time and which have been set out in Memorandum of Association of the different companies. No such Articles of Association or Memorandum of Association have been produced before us to show what are aims and objects of these companies. No documents are shown as to what are the activities of these companies. Thus no material has been brought to satisfy that the impugned order is erroneous and deserves to be interfered with.