• Monday, December 11, 2023

Business

London court begins trial in six Indian banks’ unpaid loans case against GVK

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

A trial involving six Indian banks pursuing unpaid loans amounting to an estimated $2 billion, including interest accrued, from GVK Coal Developers (Singapore) Pte Ltd and associated companies opened in the High Court in London on Tuesday (10).

Judge Dame Clare Moulder presided over the hearing at the Commercial Court division to hear the case brought by Bank of Baroda (acting by its Ras Al Khaimah branch), Bank of India (London branch), Canara Bank (London branch), ICICI Bank Ltd (acting by its Bahrain, Dubai and Off-Shore Banking branches), Indian Overseas Bank (Corporate Branch, India) and Axis Bank Ltd.

The case dates to 2011 and 2014, when loan facilities were made available to the company, which the banks say are long overdue, other than $83 million from the proceeds of the sale of a Bengaluru airport and certain amounts not in dispute.

Court documents show the banks have been pursuing the case at the High Court in London since 2020.

GVK’s legal representatives successfully applied for an adjournment in June last year to prepare Indian law expert reports for the trial.

The case is now slated for a two-week trial starting Tuesday, even as GVK was only represented by an Indian advocate having reportedly disengaged their UK legal firm in the weeks leading up to the trial.

The banks are represented by international law firm Reed Smith, who have instructed barrister Karishma Vora of 39 Essex Chambers London to argue the matter before the Commercial Court in London.

The other GVK group companies named as defendants in the case include Black Gold Ventures Pte Ltd, Cool Water Ventures Pte Ltd, Harmony Waters Pte Ltd, GVK Natural Resources Pvt Ltd, GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd, GVK Resources (Singapore) Pte Ltd, GVK Coal Resources (Singapore) Pte Ltd, GVK Coal Infrastructure (Singapore) Pte Ltd and GVK Coal Exploration & Production Pte Ltd – mostly Singapore companies with a couple from Telangana.

The banks are seeking repayment of the two loans borrowed in 2011 and 2014, with England as the jurisdiction applying in the case.

The GVK Group has been approached for a comment.

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