The Supreme Court
of India on Thursday urged SpiceJet
and Kalanithi Maran
, former promoter of the airline, to consider settling their protracted share transfer dispute over talks. The court has allowed time till April 12 for SpiceJet and Maran-led Kal Airways to consider the settlement of the dispute.
Marans have extended an offer for settlement. They have said that of the total claim of Rs 600 crore principal and Rs 300 crore interest, they are agreeable to SpiceJet paying interest over three years.
Maran and his KAL Airways had earlier rejected SpiceJet's offer for settling the Rs 900 crore claim with a final opulent of Rs 600 crore. Maran had said then that SpiceJet’s dues were much more than its full and final settlement offer of Rs 600 crore.
After the Supreme Court asked SpiceJet to consider Maran's offer, the airline has said it would consider the offer for settlement.
But it also told the SC that the airline was under heavy losses. “We have incurred a loss of Rs 10,000 crore in the two years of the pandemic,” the airline told the SC. “Marans could not run the airline. They should be thanking us for taking over. If it is such a valuable asset Marans can take it back.”
The next hearing in the SpiceJet versus Maran case has been scheduled for April 12.
SpiceJet on Thursday also confirmed the settlement of the payment dispute with Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse and SpiceJet were engaged in a payment dispute of over $20 million. The Karnataka High Court had directed for winding up the airline on SpiceJet's refusal to pay Credit Suisse.
Here is how the SpiceJet and Kalanithi Maran dispute started. In January 2015, Kal Airways offered a 58.46 percent stake in SpiceJet to Ajay Singh, the principal shareholder and chairman and managing director of SpiceJet, for merely Rs 2 as the airline was hit by financial troubles. SpiceJet stock was priced at Rs 16.30 a share during this deal.
Next year in March, Maran moved Delhi High Court alleging a breach of the agreement by Singh for not issuing him enough share warrants and preference shares despite Rs 679 crore infusion.
The HC then asked Maran and Singh to set up an arbitration tribunal and demands SpiceJet deposit Rs 579 crore. In July 2017, SpiceJet moved SC against the HC order but SC upholds the order.
In July next year, an arbitration panel rejects the Rs 1,300 crore damages claim of Maran and KAL Airways against SpiceJet. In September 2020, Delhi HC asked SpiceJet to deposit Rs 243 crore as interest payment, which got a stay from the SC. In February 2022, Maran approached SC to lift the stay on a Delhi HC order.