Allowing the suit filed by OCM Singapore Njord Holdings Hardrada Pte Ltd, the Delhi High Court has granted an interim injunction restraining promoters of UAE-based Gulf Petrochem FZC from disposing of any of their movable or immovable assets, in connection with an alleged trade fraud of over 12 million USD.
“As consolidated above, the plaintiffs have made out a strong prima facie case in their favour and the defendants have not been able to make out any credible case of defence. Irreparable harm and injury would be caused to the plaintiffs, if the defendants were to dispose of their assets. Therefore, balance of convenience requires that the plaintiffs be granted interim injunction,” stated Justice Amit Bansal in an order passed on Friday.
The court also directed the defendant company promoters–Prerit Goel, Manan Goel to disclose all their bank account statements in India and abroad and particulars of movable and immovable assets within four weeks.
In the order, the court also specified the restraining of the property measuring 1 Bigha 12 Biswas situated in the revenue estate of Village Samalka, Tehsil Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.
As per the plaintiff Singapore-based shipping company, the United Arab Emirates-based Gulf Petrochem which had voyage chartered their Vessel “Torm Hardrada” on May 8, 2020.
The Vessel loaded 40,533.05 metric tonnes of Jet Aviation Fuel and a bill of lading was issued by the master of the Vessel, which was consigned to the order of Natixis, France, a French bank for delivery at Rotterdam.
On June 6, 2020, the defendant Petrochem company ordered the Vessel to proceed to Fujairah, UAE, and deliver the Cargo to Vitol Bahrain E.C which has to be delivered to the port of Rotterdam.Although the defendant company received payment from the buyers, they did not pay Natixis and misappropriated the proceeds of the sale. In the legal battle of Natixis, in order to mitigate their losses, the plaintiffs on November 16, 2020, furnished security of USD 14,908,056 to them towards theAprincipal claim amount of USD 12,423,380 around Rs 95.6 crore Indian money.
The Singapore company argued that the defendants have defrauded many more companies globally in a similar manner by inducing shipping companies to deliver cargo to other buyers without the production of the original bills of lading on the basis of Letter of Indemnities(LoI) and, thereafter, not honouring the said LoIs.
The court noted, as per the records, that the website of the defendant company has an office/place of business in New Delhi, a stand which they changed later.
The bench held that the defendants have failed to show that the territorial jurisdiction of the Court is highly debatable or prima facie not tenable.