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Kishore Biyani withdraws resignation from FRL’s suspended board as Chairman, Director

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The Resolution Professional of Future Retail Ltd (FRL) had raised objections to the contents of Biyani’s resignation letter and had requested him to recall it

New Delhi: Almost one and a half months after resigning from the suspended board of debt-ridden Future Retail Ltd, Kishore Biyani has withdrawn his resignation.

The Resolution Professional of Future Retail Ltd (FRL), which is currently going through an insolvency resolution process, had raised objections to the contents of Biyani’s resignation letter and had requested him to recall it.

“Kishor Biyani has now withdrawn his resignation by way of his letter dated 10th March 2023,” FRL informed the bourses.

Earlier this week, the RP of FRL filed an application before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against the former and present directors of the company for causing a loss of Rs 14,809.44 crore to creditors.

In the application filed before the Mumbai bench of the NCLT, the Resolution Professional (RP) has sought direction from the tribunal against the present and erstwhile directors of FRL “to contribute the amount to the company”, Future Retail Ltd (FRL) said in a regulatory filing.

Biyani resigned on January 23, 2023.

In his resignation letter, Biyani had written an emotional farewell, and said FRL, with which he was associated since 2007 since its incorporation, was facing CIRP (Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process) as a “result of the unfortunate business situation”.

The letter, a copy of which was shared with the stock exchanges, had said: “As I understand, I have completed all the required handholding within my capacity for you to take over the entire control of the company and its assets and I have also completed the handover of whatever information and data, which was available with the earlier management or which could be retrieved from ex-employees or third parties and have shared with you all the insight about the business and operations and various hurdles faced by the earlier management”.

Biyani (61) has also assured to cooperate with the lenders.

“Needless to say, that in spite of my resignation, I would be available for all possible help, which can be done by me with my limited resources and ability to resolve any issue related to the company,” he said.

FRL operated multiple retail formats in both the hypermarket supermarket and home segments under brands, such as Big Bazaar, Easyday, and Foodhall. At its peak, FRL was operating over 1,500 outlets in nearly 430 cities.

It was dragged into insolvency proceedings by its lender Bank of India after it defaulted on loans.

The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal had on July 2022 directed to initiate insolvency against FRL.

It was part of the 19 Future group companies operating in the retail, wholesale, logistic and warehousing segments, which were supposed to be transferred to Reliance Retail as part of a Rs 24,713-crore deal announced in August 2020.

However, lenders had rejected the takeover of the 19 Future group companies, including FRL, by Reliance amid a legal challenge by Amazon.

As many as 13 companies including Reliance Retail, Adani Group’s JV April Moon Retail and 11 other companies have made it to the final list of prospective bidders for acquiring FRL.

Last year in August, stock market regulator Sebi ordered a forensic audit of the accounts of FRL for the financial years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has also asked for an audit of FRL’s Related Party Transactions (RPT) with three other Future group firms — Future Enterprises Ltd, Future Consumer Ltd and Future Supply Chain Solutions Ltd.

RPT refers to a deal or arrangement made between two parties related to each other by having a pre-existing business relation or common interest.

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