High drama marked the shareholders' vote here on Monday on Bank of Rajasthan's (BoR) merger with ICICI Bank, with a local court in Kolkata staying the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) only for it to be vacated by the High Court.

The meeting to approve the merger of Udaipur-based Bank of Rajasthan with largest private sector lender ICICI Bank got off to a chaotic start, when the Bank of Rajasthan management said it was cancelling the meet following a stay obtained by an investor from a civil court.

The XI Bench of Civil Court in Kolkata stayed the EGM till further orders on a plea by shareholder Satya Brata Das.

However, Bank of Rajasthan moved the Calcutta High Court contending that the city court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter. The High Court vacated the stay.

“The BoR EGM has happened. A lower court in Kolkata had issued an injunction against holding of the EGM. The Calcutta High Court has now stayed the lower court order,” an ICICI Bank spokesperson told PTI from Vadodara.

Minutes before the BoR EGM was to start in Mumbai, the Company Secretary announced that its Managing Director had received a facsimile from an advocate in Kolkata stating that the meeting was stayed by a court there.

To add to the drama, BoR employees struck work protesting violation of shareholding guidelines by the promoter's Tayal family and opposing the merger with ICICI Bank.

In Jaipur, the United Forum of Bank of Rajasthan Unions Convenor Gopal Das Gupta claimed that the strike hit banking operations.

Livid at the cancellation of the EGM in Mumbai, about 1,000 shareholders started raising slogans. They then went ahead with the voting, with one of them chairing the session.

A shareholder V. N. Prasad said ballots would be scrutinised by two scrutinisers, after which it would be submitted to the Reserve Bank of India and the stock exchanges.

“One of the shareholders has got a court stay against conducting the EGM (which was called to seek shareholders' approval for the merger). Now the shareholders are meeting to discuss how to proceed with the agenda,” Bank of Rajasthan Executive Director K. K. Sharma said.

ICICI Bank last month agreed to take over Bank of Rajasthan in a share-swap deal that valued the Udaipur-based bank at over Rs.3,000 crore.

The share swap ratio was fixed at one ICICI Bank share for every 4.72 shares of BoR. Both banks can proceed with the merger only if the shareholders approve the swap ratio.

PTI reports from Vadodara

Merger to help ICICI

ICICI Bank on Monday justified its decision to acquire Bank of Rajasthan saying the acquisition would help it in expanding the business across the country.

Responding to queries from shareholders at an Extra ordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the bank here, Managing Director Chanda Kochar said, “Bank Of Rajasthan's merger is in the interest of ICICI bank as it would help in expanding its business and presence across the country.”

The bank's EGM was convened here for considering the merger of Bank of Rajasthan and the proposal was put to vote for shareholders. The result on voting will be declared on Tuesday.

About 500 shareholders were present at the meeting which lasted 90 minutes.

More In: Companies | Business