The Bombay High Court said that officials of Percept Group are prima facie attempting to mislead the court in a petition filed by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly seeking Rs. 36 crore payable to him according to a 2018-19 arbitral award.
The proceedings in the case of Sourav Chandidas Ganguly v. Percept Talent Management Ltd & Anr., arose from an agreement called the “Player Representation Agreement” signed between the two in October 2003, with a term of 5 years. As per this agreement, Percept Talent Management was to act as Ganguly’s sole and exclusive manager and agent in respect of certain defined and commercial rights. However, disputes and differences between the parties led to Percept terminating the agreement by notice to him in November 2007, following which Ganguly invoked the Arbitration clause and won.
Sourav Ganguly, through Senior Counsel Birendra Saraf, alleged that Directors of Percept had systematically “siphoned” funds from the company to other companies in which they are Directors to avoid payment to creditors. It was, therefore, necessary and in the interest of justice that the “Corporate Veil” is lifted off the debtors.
Arguments in the Court
Advocate Shardul Singh for Percept, on instructions to two companies in which Pecept had major shareholding to produce original share certificates after Percept said their copies were destroyed in a fire, said that one of these companies, Tiger Sports Marketing Pvt. Ltd couldn’t produce the share certificates, further claiming that Harindra Pal Singh, was no longer the director of Tiger Sports. Harindra Pal Singh is also the chairman of Percept Ltd.
Ganguly’s counsels pointed out that Singh was still the director of Tiger Sports, according to documents uploaded on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Moreover, they had received email communications that Tiger Sports would be willing to part with the share certificates.
Observations by the Court
Justice AK Memon prima facie found that Percept and an official of Tiger Sports Marketing Pvt, in which Percept had significant shareholding, were not forthcoming with Percept’s original share certificates, creating an obstacle for the High Court in executing the award.
Justice Menon observed that applicants have been forced to come to court repeatedly on the basis of incorrect and misappropriate instructions and therefore make improper submissions in court.
The court directed Tiger Sports to deposit Percept’s share certificates of over 1,86,000 shares by October 12. The court further directed HDFC bank not to allow Percept Ltd to withdraw Rs 54, 51, 568 from its bank account, payable to Percept D Mark (India) Limited.
Justice AK Menon asked Percept to disclose all its assets initially. The court also issued garnishee notices to certain companies that owed money to Percept.
The court asked the respondents, Percept Talent Management and Percept D Mark (India) Limited, to bear the day’s legal expenses for not “disclosing accurate information” to the court.
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