Bombay HC Directs Venugopal Dhoot to Pay Interim Compensation
The Bombay High Court, by single bench Hon'ble Justice Revati Mohite Dere stayed the order of the Metropolitan Magistrate at Ballard Peir, Mumbai, by which Mr. Venugopal Dhoot who is also the Director of the Company Videocon Industries (Applicant), was directed to deposit 20% i.e. Rs. 6.75 core by way of interim compensation in a cheque bouncing case within 60 days from the date of the order.
Learned senior counsel for the applicant submited that the applicant was not the drawer of the cheque, although he had signed the cheque in question. He submitted that the applicant had signed the cheque in question as an authorized signatory of the Company and that there is a difference between an authorized signatory and a drawer. Section 143-A of the Negotiable Instruments Act, was relied wherein there a reference to a drawer of a cheque requiring to pay interim compensation to the complainant.
It was also highlighted that after the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Mumbai admitted insolvency proceedings against Videocon in 2018, a resolution professional (RP) stood appointed to manage the financial and administrative affairs of the company.
The RP would also be representing the company in the pending proceedings before the Metropolitan Magistrate, the High Court.
Bank of Maharashtra had even raised a claim with the RP for payback of the amounts payable to it. Thus, the plea contends, there was no need for payment of any interim compensation.
The plea asserted that after appointment of the RP, the Board of Directors stood suspended and all financial and administrative affairs of the company were transferred to the RP. With respect to the transfer, Dhoot had no control over the finances of Videocon.
The dishonoured cheque was said to have been issued by Videocon as one of the several blank cheques in relation to the 'Working Capital Term Loan' executed with the Bank of Maharashtra.
Videocon purportedly issued the cheques to meet the one-sided claim of the Bank, and the cheques were not issued as security against the loan. Hence, for the meantime, the impugned order dated 24th February, 2020, passed by the learned Metropolitan Magistrate, Ballard Pier, Mumbai, was stayed.