Nitin Chandrakant Desai, born on 9 August 1965, was an Indian art director, film production designer, and television producer. He worked mostly in Marathi and Hindi Films like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Lagaan (2001), Jodhaa Akbar (2008), Devdas (2002), and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015). For Best Art Direction, He won National Film Award four times and Filmfare Best Art Direction Award three times. He opened his ND Studios with a space of 52 acres at Karjat, Navi Mumbai, in 2005.
In the news of the unfortunate death of prominent art director Nitin Desai, financial services company Edelweiss Group has refuted allegations of wrongdoing. The company has maintained that its actions were in full compliance with the established legal and regulatory framework, particularly those laid out by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to recover non-performing assets (NPAs).
Edelweiss strongly stated that the efforts to recover funds from defaulting borrowers are within the rights of creditors and their obligation. Addressing the inclusion of its chairman and managing director, Rashesh Shah, in the First Information Report (FIR) filed in connection with Nitin Desai’s suicide matter, Edelweiss Financial Services emphasized that it did not put any pressure on Desai.
Desai recently passed away on 2 August 2023.
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Creditor’s Right and Obligation: Edelweiss’s Recovery Efforts
Nitin Desai, whose company had defaulted on a considerable debt of Rs 252 crore and had been unsuccessful in saving the company from bankruptcy courts against insolvency proceedings, tragically took his own life. Edelweiss gave a clarification that the loans extended to Desai’s company, ND’s Art World Pvt Ltd, were originally provided by ECL Finance and were later taken over for resolution by Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company (EARC).
Edelweiss pointed out that ECL Finance and EARC acted according to the rules and boundaries of the law, following RBI regulations and sticking to the principles outlined in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. The regulations stipulate that pursuing recoveries on NPAs is not just a right but an obligation of creditors.
The company reiterated that the interest rates charged by ECL Finance were consistent with prevailing market rates. The loans, totalling Rs 185 crore, were primarily allocated in 2016 and 2018 for capital expenditure related to a theme park, repayment of existing debts, and general corporate purposes.
Legal Processes Followed: Edelweiss’s Transparent Approach
In the effect of media coverage related to the FIR, Edelweiss expressed its intention to share the facts, reiterating that it had not engaged in any wrongdoing. The company has deep sorrow over the events and showed its willingness to help the authorities as fully as they can with the current investigation, hoping for a resolution that provides closure to the tragic incident.
An investigation was initiated into Nitin Desai’s suicide following concerns about the interest rates charged for the loans and the probable chance of Desai being under mental stress. These concerns were raised by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, leading to an inquiry.
Appropriate Handling of Loans: Edelweiss’s Response to Allegations
Edelweiss’s statement faces scrutiny about the suicide case of Nitin Desai. The well-known art director and owner of ND Studio had took out loans and borrowed money from ECL Finance, which later assigned the loans to CFM Asset Reconstruction Company due to problems in finances by Desai’s company, ND’s Art World. Edelweiss ARC then acquired the asset portfolio from CFM Asset Reconstruction Company through an auction process.
After these additions, EARC’s admission under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code was approved by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Mumbai. Nitin Desai subsequently appealed against this decision, seeking relief from insolvency proceedings. However, his appeal was dismissed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
Audio Recordings Shed Light: Mental Struggles of Nitin Desai
The audio recordings were dug out by the Maharashtra police following Desai’s death, showed his distress over financial problems. These recordings have been sent for forensic analysis to gain further insight into his mental situation.
Edelweiss Financial Services maintains that legal and regulatory requirements carried out its actions and that there was no impropriety involved in its handling of the loans. As investigations continue, the company claims to be committed to transparency and cooperation in pursuing truth and closure in the matter.
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