Govt interested to bid for Dunlop

After the Calcutta High Court on Thursday gave nod to wind up Dunlop India, one of the oldest and reputed tyre-manufacturing company, the Trinamool Congress government today said it may participate in the bidding process to acquire the firm "in the interest of workers".

"After studying legal aspects, the state government may participate in the bidding process to acquire Dunlop India. This will be keeping in mind the workers' security," Labour Minister Purnendu Basu told PTI.

He, however, said that the government was yet to receive a copy of the order and that a final decision would be taken thereafter. Appearing for the state, Advocate General Anindya Mitra had submitted that the state, which also had claims of around Rs 50 crore, would welcome any order that could facilitate the reopening of the company.

On Thursday, Justice Sanjib Banerjee of the High Court held that the firm had sold assets worth Rs 2,300 crore in a fraudulent way and was unable to show any prospects to carry out business in the near future.

While hearing the pleas of several companies that had given loans to Dunlop and also the employees of the ailing company who had not received their salaries, Justice Banerjee ordered winding up of Dunlop to pay its dues by selling its assets. E V Mathai and Sons and A K Kundu and Company, followed by 15 other creditors, had moved a winding up petition before the High Court seeking liquidation of the company in 2008 for non-payment of dues amounting to around Rs 1,000 crore.

"And so it is the end of the road for the once giant in the automobile tyre-manufacturing industry, Company Dunlop India Limited is directed to be wound up with immediate effect under the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956," the order said.

According to the order, the official liquidator will take charge of all books, records, documents, assets and transactions of the company. "The official liquidator will form a special team to handle the assets and matters pertaining to this company (Dunlop) in liquidation and will ensure that statements of affairs are promptly filed by all persons liable therefore, including the person or persons forming the controlling mind of the company prior to its liquidation," it said.

"The official liquidator will also cause reputed auditors to be appointed at the appropriate stage to inquire into the acts and conducts of those in management of the company prior to its liquidation and institute misfeasance proceedings, if necessary, without any undue delay," it added.

ó With Pti inputs

n Having led tyre manufacturing industry for decades, the company went down the slope since late 1990s.

n In 2005, Ruia Group, led by Pawan Kumar Ruia, took control of the company.

n Various firms and creditors said that company owed them Rs 1,000 crore.

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