Not possible: Maran, KAL Airways to SC on Rs 600 crore settlement offer by SpiceJet
New Delhi, February 14, 2022
Kalanithi Maran and KAL Airways informed the Supreme Court on Monday that low-cost carrier SpiceJet's offer of Rs 600 crore towards full and final settlement of the share transfer dispute was not acceptable.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing KAL Airways, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N. V. Ramana that it was not possible for his clients to consider the offer proposed by SpiceJet Airlines.
The bench, also comprising Justices A. S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli, inquired further whether none of the two offers proposed by SpiceJet was acceptable. Singh replied in the negative and added that, as per the arbitral award, SpiceJet has to pay them Rs 920 crore.
Singh also submitted that he could take the court through the calculations as per the arbitral award from the pleadings itself in support of the arguments. He also submitted that the matter may be listed for arguments on the next date of hearing.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing SpiceJet, urged the bench to hear the matter within two weeks. Singh was assisted by advocates from Karanjawala & Co.
After hearing arguments, the top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on March 2.
On February 10, the Supreme Court asked Kalanithi Maran, the former promoter of SpiceJet, to consider the full and final settlement offer made by SpiceJet to end the dispute in a share transfer matter.
In a statement SpiceJet, after the hearing in the top court, said: "SpiceJet has offered to pay Rs 600 crore in cash in the share transfer case with its former promoter Kalanithi Maran and his firm KAL Airways for a full and final settlement of all disputes. Out of the principal amount of Rs 578 crore awarded in arbitration, SpiceJet has already paid Rs 308 crore in cash and deposited a bank guarantee of Rs 270 crore."
SpiceJet's counsel had proposed to pay the bank guarantee equivalent amount of Rs 270 crore in cash and top it up with additional Rs 22 crore aggregating the total pay-out to Rs 600 crore as full and final settlement of all disputes between the parties.
Maran and his firm, KAL Airways, had urged the top court to lift the stay on a Delhi High Court order asking the low-cost airline to deposit Rs 243 crore as interest on the amount of Rs 579 crore in the dispute. In November 2020, the top court stayed the high court order.
Maran sought the stay to be lifted to secure the decreed amount -- refund amount awarded and interest -- from SpiceJet.
Singh had argued that the high court had asked them to pay the decretal amount and against which SpiceJet had deposited only Rs 270 crore as bank guarantee and now there is a winding up order passed against SpiceJet by the Madras High Court in another case being Credit Suisse AG Vs SpiceJet. He added that in such a change in circumstance, SpiceJet should be directed to pay and deposit Rs 242 crore otherwise his client will have to run from pillar to post.
Karanjawala & Co. in a statement said the top court proposed two offers to Maran and KAL Airways that SpiceJet will give Rs 300 crore towards full and final settlement of the dispute and the matter finally gets settled and no further litigation. Second, out of the bank guarantee of Rs 270 crore deposited with HC, SpiceJet will give Rs 100 crore for now and the order will be passed by the top court to hear petitions, which are pending before the high court expeditiously.
The top court asked Singh to discuss the settlement with his client.