No settlement could be reached with Marans: Spicejet to Supreme Court

0
11

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a week to SpiceJet and Kalanithi Maran and his company KAL Airways to settle their share transfer dispute after the low-cost carrier informed that “nothing came out of the long meetings between the two sides”.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for SpiceJet, told a bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana, “we tried. We had long meetings but unfortunately, I am told it is not possible to accept the offer. Please keep it next week for arguments.”

Counsel Nandini Gore, appearing for Maran, contended, “we had apprehension about the interest. If something can be worked out then we are open.”

However, the bench supported Gore’s stand and told Rohatgi, “something has to be done about the interest.” The matter would be heard now next week.

Last week, the judges had asked the lawyers for SpiceJet and Maran to talk to their clients and persuade them to a settlement and told Rohatgi to pay extra interest.

“SpiceJet wants to settle. Their proposal is that SpiceJet has already paid Rs 308 crore in cash and deposited a bank guarantee of Rs 270 crore, they are willing to release another Rs 100 crore, subject to Maran’s wish. The other option is that we hear the matter…We will suggest you discuss the settlement and come back,” the CJI had said.

Earlier in February, Maran had turned down the one-time settlement offer of Rs 600 crore made by SpiceJet as part of ending all its pending disputes, including the share transfer issue between the two parties.

The case relates to a dispute arising out of the non-issuance of warrants in favour of Maran, after the transfer of ownership to Singh, the controlling shareholder of SpiceJet. The dispute started after Singh took back control of the airline in February 2015 amidst a financial crisis. Maran and his KAL Airways had transferred their entire 350.4 million equity shares in SpiceJet, amounting to a 58.46% stake in the airline, to its co-founder Ajay Singh in February 2015 for just Rs 2. The airline’s total debt at the time of acquisition was over Rs 1,400 crore. The carrier was forced to shut operations for a day in December 2014 due to a severe cash crunch.