Delhi High Court directs SpiceJet to pay Marans
The Delhi High Court has directed SpiceJet to cough up Rs 243 crore to the Marans in six weeks. If it doesn’t, the court says the Marans will be allowed to press their claims for status quo on the shareholding of the budget airline.
The ruling could jeopardise the plan to spin off the cargo business of the airline into a separate entity if promoter Ajay Singh refuses to comply.
The Marans had signed a share purchase agreement with Ajay Singh on January 29, 2015 and transferred their entire 58.46 per cent shareholding to the businessman who has since run the budget airline.
Under the 2015 agreement, KAL Airways Pvt Ltd and Kalanithi Maran were to be issued certain warrants and non-convertible redeemable cumulative preference shares (CRPS) in two tranches. Since these warrants were never given, the Marans have been pursuing a lawsuit and then an arbitration case against SpiceJet.
The arbitration tribunal in July 2018 ordered a refund of Rs 579 crore — comprising Rs 308 crore received from the Marans as advance towards the subscription of warrants along with a 12 per cent interest for a period of 30 months.
The case went on to the Supreme Court and the Delhi High court had ruled the Marans were due Rs 308 crore from SpiceJet plus interest payment.
Though the Marans had received the sum in two tranches, first Rs 250 crore on April 30, 2019 and another Rs 58 crore on October 4, 2019, the interest was not forthcoming.
A large number of calculations were done to fix the final interest liability: the rates were calculated at 12 per cent and 18 per cent corresponding to various dates — leading to the final sum
“Judgement Debtor (in this case SpiceJet and promoter Ajay Singh) is hereby directed to deposit a sum of Rs 242.93 crore as post-award interest sum within a period of six weeks. In the event the amount is not deposited, the Decree Holder(in this case Kalanithi Maran and his firm KAL Airways) shall be at liberty to seek directions to maintain status quo with respect to shareholding of SpiceJet Limited and Ajay Singh,” said the court.
“We are reviewing the court order,” said a SpiceJet spokesman.