Australia's Perdaman Chemicals and Fertilisers on Thursday widened its legal battle against infrastructure company Lanco Infratech by launching A $3.5-billion (around Rs 20,185-crore) damage claim in federal court in Perth, Australia against ICICI Bank, which funded the latter's Griffin Coal buy.
Following the news ICICI shares fell 1% in morning trade on the Bombay Stock Exchange but ended the day on a flat note by closing at Rs 1,179.
Perdaman alleged that the ICICI Bank restrained Griffin Coal Mining from supplying coal to its proposed urea project in Western Australia. Griffin Coal was acquired by Lanco for A $730 million in March 2011 and a syndicate of lenders led by ICICI Bank financed the acquisition.
Lanco, however, termed Perdaman's move a desperate attempt and said ICICI Bank had no contractual relationship with the Australian company.
"ICICI Bank has no contractual relationship with Perdaman. The current attempt of going against ICICI Bank is another desperate attempt of greenmail in frustration and this action against one of the most reputed institution of India, will further damage Perdaman's credibility and future prospects," said Lanco Infratech in the statement. "As per the information with us, the case against ICICI Bank has not yet been admitted by court and as said above it is another baseless case and an attempt of greenmail."
ICICI Bank did not comment for the story and the mail sent to the bank remained unanswered.
"In light of the Western Australia Supreme Court's finding that Perdaman has a good arguable case and that the case should go to trial, Lanco's statement that Perdaman's claim is baseless can only be regarded as grossly misleading," said Vikas Rambal, Perdaman Industries.