A Company founded and run to commit fraud is liable to be wound up.

Devas Multimedia vs. Antrix Corporation

The facts:

On 28.07.2003, Antrix entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Forge Advisors, LLC, a Virginia Corporation. The intent, as spelt out in the MOU, was to make both parties
become “strong and vital partners in evaluating and implementing major new satellite applications across diverse sectors including agriculture, education, media and telecommunications”.

On 22.03.2004, Forge Advisors made a presentation proposing an Indian joint venture, to launch what came to be known as “DEVAS” (Digitally Enhanced Video and Audio Services). It was projected in the said proposal that DEVAS platform will be capable of delivering multimedia and information services via satellite to mobile devices tailored to the needs of various market segments such as (i) consumer segment, comprising of entertainment and
information services to digital multimedia consoles in cars and vehicles; (ii) commercial segment, comprising of high value information services to Commercial Information Devices in
commercial transport vehicles; and (iii) social segment, comprising of Developmental Information Services to Rural Information kiosks in underserved areas. (This platform was never created and is not in existence even today)

The proposal dated 15.04.2004 indicated that DEVAS was conceived as a new National Service, expected to be launched by the end of 2006, that would deliver video, multimedia and information services via satellite to mobile receivers in vehicles and mobile phones across India. The proposal contemplated the formation of a joint venture and an obligation on the part of ISRO and Antrix to invest in one operational S­Band satellite with a ground space segment to be leased to the joint venture. In return, ISRO and Antrix were to receive lease payments of USD 11 million annually for a period of 15 years.

On 17.12.2004 Devas Multimedia Private Limited, (hereinafter referred to as ‘Devas’ or the ‘company in liquidation’) was incorporated as a private company under the Companies Act, 1956. Immediately thereafter, Antrix entered into an Agreement with the said company on 28.01.2005. The Agreement was titled as “Agreement for the lease of space segment capacity on ISRO/Antrix SBand spacecraft by DEVAS”.

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Powers of National Company Law Tribunal

Effect of Rule 5

The real reason for omission of Rule 5(2) in the substituted Rule 5 is because it is necessary to state, only once, on the repeal of the SIC Act, that proceedings under Section 20 of the SIC Act shall continue to be dealt with by the High Court. It was unnecessary to continue Rule 5(2) even after 29.06.2017 as on 15.12.2016, all pending cases under Section 20 of the SIC Act were to continue to be dealt with by the High Court before which such cases were pending. Since there could be no opinion by the BIFR under Section 20 of the SIC Act after 01.12.2016, when the SIC Act was repealed, it was unnecessary to continue Rule 5(2) as, on 15.12.2016, all pending proceedings under Section 20 of the SIC Act were to continue with the High Court and would continue even thereafter. This is further made clear by the amendment to Section 434(1)(c), with effect from 17.08.2018, where any party to a winding up proceeding pending before a Court immediately before this date may file an application for transfer of such proceedings, and the Court, at that stage, may, by order, transfer such proceedings to the NCLT. The proceedings so transferred would then be dealt with by the NCLT as an application for initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process under the Code. It is thus clear that under the scheme of Section 434 (as amended) and Rule 5 of the 2016 Transfer Rules, all proceedings under Section 20 of the SIC Act pending before the High Court are to continue as such until a party files an application before the High Court for transfer of such proceedings post 17.08.2018. Once this is done, the High Court must transfer such proceedings to the NCLT which will then deal with such proceedings as an application for initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process under the Code.

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