IP Navneet Kumar Jain

  June 10, 2021

“The Adjudicating Authority ignored my pleas about being threatened with a gun.”

 

(Mr. Jain is an Insolvency Professional based in Delhi)

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your academic and professional background?

I am a practising CMA and an Insolvency Professional.

 

How did you decide to become an IP?

I was working on the syllabus of a course on Insolvency Profession to be launched by Institute of Cost Accountants of India and in the meanwhile, the IBC was passed by the parliament. Being into the practice of costing and having a law background, I considered this an opportunity to learn more and utilise the skills acquired so far.

 

How many assignments (CIRPs and liquidations) have you undertaken so far? If possible, could you share the names?

  • S3 Electrical and Electronics 2017 as IRP (Till supreme Court)
  • Uttam Strips Ltd as IRP
  • JV Strips Ltd as IRP
  • Manmohan Singh Gulati (Personal Guarantor case-Ongoing)
  • Officebeanz (Consent Provided)

I have also been a COC member in Jaypee Infra and Today Homes, Noida.

 

How was your experience in the early days as an IP? What were some of the challenges you faced in your initial assignments?

It was a learning stage for all and the law was still in the making. Even judges were not aware of the IBC. In one of my cases, the Hon’ble Judge asked the OC in open court to control the IRP’s actions. I got some of the very first judgements on directions to district administration, fixation of fee, loan in foreign currency etc.

Challenges are aplenty, especially getting the fees. Even if the appointments are made by the NCLTs from the panel, the IPs are not getting the payments and there is no person to take care of it.

 

Which has been the most interesting/challenging/memorable assignment for you so far?

All were of equal importance, but Brian Lau v. S3 Electrical and Electronics holds a special place, as it provided me with the opportunity to present a case before the Hon’ble SC on my own, for fee-fixation.

 

What have been the unexpected parts of being an IP? How have you dealt with them?

Total no-cooperation by the CD, its employees, its directors and even the courts do not take that seriously. In one of my cases, I had filed two Section 19(2) applications and still the judge mentioned the two days of delay in forming of COC in the order. This was totally irresponsible as it did not listen to the pleas about the continuous threatening and the flashing of guns at the IRP. The same order was challenged before Hon’ble NCLAT and the remarks were expunged.

Even after relinquishing the office as IRP, one keeps getting mails and documents which one has to carefully hand over to the RP, even though one is not paid for the time spent on it. Also, if any case is filed after one’s tenure as an IRP/RP, one has to bear the expense out of one’s own pocket. There is no system to safeguard the IRP/RP from such harassment.

 

How do you think the IBC has evolved so far? Where has it faltered, and where do you think it has a scope to do better?

IBC is evolving and has to evolve further too. Many critical questions of law have been settled, but the timelines have been lost somewhere. It is only the IRP/RP who have to follow the timelines. Courts, promoters, debtors and even creditors hardly care for the timelines. In a case (where I am a COC member too) in March 2020, the resolution plan was filed before the Hon’ble NCLT and no effective hearing has taken place so far even after the Hon’ble NCLAT has issued orders for regular hearing.

 

What advice do you have for the professionals considering becoming an IP?

Being an IP is an excellent and promising career and will let you explore your strengths which can be utilised for all the stake-holders.

 

(This interview was conducted by Adv. Parth Indalkar and has been edited for clarity.)

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