Incab hearing on August 6
Jamshedpur: Delhi High Court is scheduled to hear the petition filed by Tata Steel for Incab's takeover on August 6.
A positive outcome could bring smiles to 900 employees in Jamshedpur, 175 in Pune and another 40 at the company's Calcutta headquarters, all of whom have been without pay since 1999.
In its petition filed on August 9, 2017, Tata Steel had staked claim to run the cable manufacturing unit since it was the only bidder left in the fray to take over the ailing firm.
Company sources said the steel major filed the petition since the current Malaysian promoter of the firm, Leader Universal Berhard Cables, failed to approach the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), a quasi-judicial body constituted on December 1, 2016 vide a notification of the Union finance ministry.
The Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) and the Appellate Authority for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (AAIFR), which had already given their verdict in favour of Tata Steel in the past, were dissolved on December 1, 2016.
However, the finance ministry allowed the promoters (or owners) having pending proceedings with either BIFR or AAIFR to file reference applications with NCLT within 180 days of its formation.
But Tata Steel, in spite of having a BIFR and AAIFR nod, could not approach the NCLT since its status was that of a 'bidder' and not 'owner'.
Sources said the Malaysian promoter should have ideally approached the NCLT and filed its application, but it didn't. This prompted Tata Steel to move the high court seeking an order to approach the NCLT for revival of the ailing unit at the earliest.
A Tata Steel spokesperson refused to comment on the issue since the matter was in the court.
Employees and functionaries of Incab Industries Employees' Association (IIEA), the Intuc-affiliated union of the company, are expecting a positive outcome on August 6.
"We are expecting some good news," said U.K. Sharma, general secretary of IIEA.
A company insider revealed that Tata Steel had once missed a chance to takeover the firm.
"Delhi High Court had on January 6, 2016 given its verdict in favour of Tata Steel and rejected the petitions filed by two other bidders, RR Kabels and Pegasus Assets Management Company. Between that day and December 1, 2016, the day NCLT came into being, the steel major wasted 10 months," the source said.
"Tata Steel could have easily taken over the company before formation of the NCLT as it had the verdict of the high court, BIFR and AAIFR in its favour," explained an insider.
Once a major cable producer, it employed 2,000 people at its Jamshedpur plant.
In the mid-1990s, Malaysian promoter Leader Universal Holdings Berhad took over the firm. But the company started suffering losses and slid deeper in the red. It was referred to BIFR in 1999, a year before Jharkhand was born.
Tata Steel had proposed a financial package of Rs 87 crore for reviving the sick unit and submitted its bid to SBI, the operating agency of the sick unit, in 2007.