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Delhi HC initiates winding up proceedings against Mahuaa Media

MUMBAI: With the Delhi High Court initiating winding up proceedings against Mahuaa Media and appointing a provisional official liquidator, the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) directed distribution platform operators (DPOs) to file an application to make the official liquidator aware of the present proceedings.

The tribunal said that the application must be filed within two weeks from 24 April and a copy of report of the auditors appointed by the committee under the authority of this tribunal may also be enclosed with the application proposed to be filed.

Multi-system operators (MSOs) DEN Networks, Digi Cable, Wire & Wireless India Ltd (Siti Networks), Indian Cable Net Co Ltd (ICNCL) and DTH operator Tata Sky have filed recovery petitions against the beleaguered broadcaster in the tribunal.

Mahuaa Media owes a total of Rs 33.44 crore to the five companies. Tata Sky has the highest outstanding dues against the company with Rs 17.26 crore to be recovered. Mahuaa owes Rs 5.27 crore to ICNCL, Rs 4.18 crore to DEN, Rs 4.31 crore to Siti, and Rs 2.42 crore to DigiCableComm.

In June 2016, the then TDSAT chairperson Justice Aftab Alam had formed a committee to manage the affairs of Mahuaa Media, the owner of Bhojpuri channel Mahuaa TV, comprising distribution platforms and the company’s promoter PK Tewari, who is facing charges of financial fraud and is currently out on bail.

The committee consisted of representatives one each from DEN Networks, Digi Cable, Wire & Wireless India Ltd (Siti Cable), Indian Cable Net Co Ltd (ICNCL), and Tata Sky besides Tewari. The five distribution platforms are seeking recovery of outstanding dues from Mahuaa.

The Delhi High Court had on 27 February passed an order on a petition filed by Harmuny Entertainment initiating the winding up proceedings against Mahuaa under Company Law. It had also appointed a provisional official liquidator to carry out the winding up of the company. Kolkata-based Harmuny is an organiser of exhibitions, wedding ceremonies and parties.

The HC had taken the extreme step after Mahuaa had failed to pay a sum of Rs 5.77 crore to Harmuny towards full and final settlement in instalments of different amounts ending with June 2016.

“In view of the foregoing, it is considered just, necessary and expedient to appoint the OL attached to this court as the provisional liquidator of the respondent company with all the powers to take over all the assets, books of accounts and records of the respondent-company forthwith,” the bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul had said in its order.

The order also restrained Mahuaa as well its directors from alienating, encumbering, or otherwise parting with possession of the assets of the respondent company without the leave of this court.

It also directed the OL to file a compliance report before the next date of hearing while re-notifying the matter on 12 July 2017.

In view of the Delhi HC order, the TDSAT stated that “the petitioner, who is the decree holder under orders of this Tribunal, is required to take appropriate steps so that the Official Liquidator has notice of the present proceeding and proper orders may be passed in presence of Official Liquidator”.

The tribunal posted the matter under the same head on 12 May.

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