Top Indian Judge Rues Bureaucracy Bogging Down Bankruptcy Deal

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Differing views between two departments of the Indian government have turned one of the biggest sales of steel mills under the reformed bankruptcy law into a litigation worth $6.3 billion and delayed the entire process. “You purchased a litigation that costs 480 billion rupees,” India’s Chief Justice N.V. Ramana told the lawyer for tycoon Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel Ltd.. The top court gave another week to government’s lawyer to sort out the differences between the country’s anti-money laundering agency Enforcement Directorate and corporate affairs ministry. Jindal has been waiting for nearly two years to assume full control of Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd.’s assets. JSW has paid $2.58 billion to settle the bankrupt firm’s about $6.3 billion debt but its plans are held up as the Enforcement Directorate has petitioned the top court against the sale. It refuses to let go of Bhushan Power’s assets seized in a probe against the bankrupt firm’s former owners even after the corporate affairs ministry approved the deal. “What the left hand is doing the right hand doesn’t know,” Ramana said during Tuesday hearing. Representing the government, India’s Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has assured the court to sort out the differences and come with a clear stand on the issue. Read more.