Delhi HC stops Gulf Petrochem FZC promoters from divesting assets

New Delhi, May 7 (IANS): Authorizing the lawsuit brought by OCM Singapore Njord Holdings Hardrada Pte Ltd, the Delhi High Court granted an interim injunction restraining the developers of UAE-based Gulf Petrochem FZC from disposing of any of their movable or immovable assets, in connection with an alleged commercial fraud of more than 12 million dollars.

“As consolidated above, Plaintiffs have established a strong prima facie case in their favor and Defendants have failed to present a credible case of defense. Irreparable harm and harm would be caused to Plaintiffs, if the defendants had to dispose of their assets.Therefore, the balance of convenience requires that plaintiffs be granted an interim injunction,” Judge Amit Bansal said in an order passed on Friday.

The court also ordered the promoters of the defendant company – Prerit Goel, Manan Goel to disclose all their Indian and overseas bank account statements and details of movable and immovable assets within four weeks.

In the order, the court also specified the restriction of the property measuring 1 Bigha 12 Biswas located in the tax estate of Samalka Village, Tehsil Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.

According to the complainant Singapore-based shipping company, UAE-based Gulf Petrochem, which chartered its vessel “Torm Hardrada” on May 8, 2020.

The Vessel loaded 40,533.05 metric tons of Jet Aviation Fuel and a bill of lading was issued by the master of the Vessel, which was made payable to Natixis, France, a French bank for delivery to Rotterdam.

On June 6, 2020, the defendant company Petrochem ordered the vessel to proceed to Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, and deliver the cargo to Vitol Bahrain EC to be delivered to the Port of Rotterdam. Although the defendant company received payment from the buyers, they failed to pay Natixis and misappropriated the sale proceeds. In the legal battle of Natixis, in order to mitigate their losses, the plaintiffs provided them on November 16, 2020 with a guarantee of USD 14,908,056 for the principal amount of the claim of USD 12,423,380 approximately Rs 95.6 crore of Indian money.

The Singaporean company argued that the defendants defrauded many other companies around the world in the same way by inducing shipping companies to deliver goods to other buyers without the production of original bills of lading based on a letter of indemnification (LoI) and subsequently fail to honor said LoI.

The court noted from the records that the defendant company’s website had an office/place of business in New Delhi, a stand which they later changed.

The bench held that the defendants had failed to demonstrate that the Court’s territorial jurisdiction was highly questionable or prima facie untenable.

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