Amount Rs 995 crore, Rs 300 crore offer by SpiceJet unacceptable, KAL Airways to SC

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Kalanithi Maran and KAL Airways on Thursday reiterated before the Supreme Court that SpiceJet’s offer of Rs 300 crore towards full and final settlement of share transfer dispute was not acceptable, noting that as per the arbitral award, it has to pay Rs 995 crore.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing KAL Airways, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana that it is not possible for his clients to consider the offer proposed by SpiceJet.

Dave and senior advocate Maninder Singh were assisted by a team of advocates from Karanjawala & Co.

The bench, also comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, queried SpiceJet’s counsel as to why the company was not paying the money to the decree holder to settle the matter.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing SpiceJet, proposed an offer stating that his client is willing to give Rs 300 crore towards full and final settlement of the dispute and the matter finally gets settled with no further litigation. He added that out of the bank guarantee of Rs 270 crore deposited with the high court, SpiceJet will give Rs 100 crore for now and the order will be passed by the top court to hear Section 34 petitions which are pending before the Delhi High Court expeditiously.

As Rohatgi reiterated that his client is ready to pay Rs 300 crore, Dave replied that the petitioner being such a prominent airline and is doing this, rather they should comply with the award and pay off their dues.

Rohatgi added that the airline is running into losses for the last two years due to the pandemic and it is unable to pay the interest. To this, Dave said that the current market capital of SpiceJet is over Rs 3,000 crore and the amount of Rs 300 crore and Rs 270 crore comprises the money given by the decree holder to the SpiceJet, and even that has yet not come back to the decree holder.

Dave emphasised that, as of date, the award amount is Rs 995 crore and offer of mere Rs 300 crore by SpiceJet is unacceptable.

The bench asked SpiceJet to consider paying the interest component and try to settle the matter.

Scheduling the matter for further hearing on April 12, it asked SpiceJet’s counsel to revert with the instructions if his client can pay the full and final settlement proposed by the decree holder.

The top court also asked both the parties to come to a conclusion on the next date of hearing.

The matter was listed on Thursday before the top court for arguments by Kal Airways and for consideration of the counteroffer by SpiceJet.

The top court was hearing special leave petitions filed by the SpiceJet Ltd against KAL Airways and Kalanithi Maran (decree holders), challenging the Delhi High Court, passed on September 2, 2020, which directed SpiceJet to deposit Rs 242,93,70,845.56/- to secure the decree holders to the extent of interest granted to them under an arbitral award.

The top court stayed the operation of this order. The decree holders had filed an application seeking vacation of the stay which was listed before top court for consideration on February 10,2022, wherein the court had directed the counsel for KAL Airways to consider the offer for settlement proposed by counsel for SpiceJet.

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