Calcutta HC orders Dunlop liquidation

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday ordered liquidating Dunlop India (DIL), India's oldest tyre manufacturer that had set up its first factory at Sahaganj. The court of Justice Sanjib Banerjee directed the official liquidator to take "immediate possession of the company's assets and books of records".

At least 17 creditors had moved the Calcutta High Court in 2008, filing a winding up petition, which sought DIL's liquidation. The liquidation was sought on the ground that DIL was transferring its assets without paying the R1,000-crore worth of dues to its creditors. Later Madura Coats, another supplier, filed another petition in 2009 seeking appointment of a liquidator over the assets of Dunlop and the court of Justice Sanjib Mukherjee in March 2012 appointed the High Court official liquidator as a provisional liquidator.

Madura Coats, which sought appointing a liquidator, had a due of R2 crore. However, the HC on Thursday ordered that Dunlop should go for liquidation.

Although Ruia Group chairman Pawan Kumar Ruia was not available for comments, Dhrubajyoti Nandy, vice-president (corporate communications), said the company has not received the order as yet. "We will only be able to comment on it after seeing the order and discussing with our counsel," Nandy said.

The DIL counsel submitted before the court that the DIL management was taking every possible step to settle the issue and that there should be a stay on liquidation. West Bengal's advocate general Anindya Mitra, who appeared for the state, however, pleaded that inspite of the state having R50 crore claims from the company, the government favoured an order, which could facilitate reopening the factory lying closed for more than two years now. Pawan Ruia took over the ailing Dunlop from the Chabbria's in 2005 but the company was hit with problems since 1996.

West Bengal labour minister Purnendu Bose said the judgment was rational since the DIL was not taking any step to reopen the factory. The judgment will make sure all the workers' dues will get cleared in the process of liquidation.

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