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Exclusive: Siliguri-based hotelier challenges NCLAT order, appeals in SC against Oyo

In an interaction with Moneycontrol, Mona Agarwalla, director of Siliguri's Central Courtyard Resort, said she was in touch with Oyo. However, so far no settlement had been made. She has claimed a settlement of Rs 37 lakh.

September 12, 2021 / 01:30 PM IST
The CEO and founder of Oyo Hotels, Ritesh Agarwal.

The CEO and founder of Oyo Hotels, Ritesh Agarwal.

A Siliguri-based hotelier has challenged the order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which gave a clean chit to Softbank-backed hospitality firm Oyo two months ago against an insolvency proceeding, in the Supreme Court.

The hearing is scheduled for September 13 before a two-judge bench consisting of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice JK Maheshwari.

"The appeal is challenging the order of the NCLAT whereby it had permitted the withdrawal of the corporate insolvency resolution that had been initiated against Oyo Hotel," Ramchandra Madan, the advocate of the hotelier, told Moneycontrol.

Moneycontrol reached out to Oyo for comment and will update when the company responds.

The court will either issue a notice staying the order of the NCLAT or dismiss the appeal out rightly. If it is dismissed, then the hotelier will be out of court but if it issues a notice, it will mean that the question of insolvency is still not off the table.

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Even as the NCLAT had disallowed the intervention of hotel owners who had filed claims against the hospitality firm in July, it reserved their rights to approach Oyo for an out-of-the-court settlement.

In an interaction with Moneycontrol, Mona Agarwalla,  director of Siliguri's Central Courtyard Resort, said she was in touch with Oyo. However, so far no settlement had been made. She has claimed a settlement of Rs 37 lakh.

While the pending dues amount to Rs 28 lakh, the rest of the money includes tax and legal costs.

The entire issue dates back to 2019 after a Gurugram hotelier, Rakesh Yadav, accused Oyo Hotel and Homes Pvt Ltd (OHHPL) of defaulting on payments and violating an agreement that required it to operate and maintain the hotel under the brand Oyo.

In March 2021, the NCLT admitted a plea for corporate insolvency proceeding against OHHPL following his complaint.

It also appointed advocate Keyur Jagdishbhai Shah as the interim resolution professional (IRP), besides asking other creditors of the company to submit their claims as well, in keeping with the insolvency code.

Even as this happened, Oyo was quick to challenge the order in the NCLAT.

Following this, the NCLAT halted the formation of a committee of creditors given that Oyo appealed that a demand draft of Rs 16 lakh, the pending amount claimed by Yadav, was issued to him under protest.

But the court had not stayed the corporate insolvency resolution process, which meant that other aggrieved hotel owners could still submit their claims.

Multiple hoteliers including Agarwalla filed their claims against the company. According to sources, the aggregated claimed amount was close to Rs 160 crore.

However, in a major disappointment for the hoteliers in July, the tribunal gave a ruling in favour of Oyo disallowing the intervention of these hoteliers.

This fresh appeal by Agarwalla is likely to bring a new dimension to the entire issue especially at a time when Oyo is aggressively preparing for an initial public offering (IPO).

The company has shortlisted investment banks JP Morgan, Kotak Mahindra Capital and Citi for its IPO to raise in excess of a billion dollars.

On September 9, the company also announced a strategic investment from global IT firm Microsoft following which it will develop smart room experiences for travellers such as customised in-room experiences.
Priyanka Sahay
first published: Sep 12, 2021 12:58 pm
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