Axis Bank moves tribunal to recover debt from Gopinath

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 26, 2013 05:08 hrs

Within months of the State Bank of India initiating an aggressive stance to sell a sprawling residential property of G R Gopinath for non-payment of dues, another lender - Axis Bank - is escalating the process to recover close to Rs 265 crore from him.

The bank, which has been in various stages of discussions with the Air Deccan founder over his grounded air logistics foray under Deccan Cargo and Express Logistics, has now moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in Bangalore. The DRT has issued summons to Deccan Emerging Business Ventures, a group company of Deccan Cargo after Axis Bank instituted recovery applications under Section 19 of the Recovery of Debts due to Bank and Financial Institutions Act for recovery of close to Rs 265 crore.

Gopinath, whose venture was grounded during mid-2011 had borrowed the bulk of the Rs 500 crore from SBI, Axis Bank and Syndicate Bank. SBI, on its part during August, managed to recover close to Rs 35 crore from sale of a sprawling property in the hub of Central Business District of Bangalore to publicly-held realtor Sobha Developers. SBI has an exposure of close to Rs 260 crore in Deccan Cargo.

Gopinath is understood to have raised close to Rs 500 crore debt for Deccan Cargo and close to Rs 135 crore from Reliance Industries through the equity route. "While the concept of connecting industrial towns to cities through the air cargo route had immense potential, the execution did not fall into place, as a result of which the venture went into a tailspin and had to be suspended," a senior industry analyst explained.

Various financial institutions have been getting pretty aggressive in recovering outstandings from a clutch of business houses after the Reserve Bank of India as well as the finance ministry urged financial institutions to hasten the process of curtailing the ballooning non-performance assets.

The State Bank of India-led consortium off late has been active in recovering as much as Rs 7,000 crore of dues from another Bangalore-based company UB Group's grounded Kingfisher Airlines.