India central bank to start bankruptcy procedure against Reliance Capital; co to comply

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FILE PHOTO: Reserve Bank of India logo is seen at the gate of its office in New Delhi
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  • Anil Ambani
    Chairman of Anil Ambani Group

BENGALURU (Reuters) - India's central bank said on Monday it would initiate bankruptcy proceedings against Reliance Capital Ltd, superseding the non-banking financial company's board on governance concerns.

Chaired by Anil Ambani, the younger brother of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Capital has welcomed the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) move to resolve the firm's debt in accordance with the insolvency and bankruptcy code.

The company said it would co-operate with the RBI-appointed administrator, Nageswar Rao Y, a former executive director at Bank of Maharashtra Ltd.

In June 2019, auditors raised several red flags around Reliance Capital's fourth-quarter results, including a lack of clarity in its accounting methodology.

The firm has since then failed to make several debt and interest payments on debentures.

Reliance Capital said that despite its best efforts for the past two years, complex legal battles and litigation rising from certain lenders have stalled the company's plans to resolve its debt.

"The company has no outstanding loans from banks and nearly 95% of its debt is in the form of debentures," Reliance Capital said in a statement

Last year, an Indian court halted insolvency proceedings against Anil Ambani and barred him from disposing off any of his assets. The beleaguered Ambani does not hold any shares in Reliance Capital as of March 31 this year.

The RBI's move against Reliance Capital follows a similar step taken against Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd and Srei Equipment Finance Ltd earlier this year.

(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra and Shivani Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel)

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