DELHI- On November 20, the Delhi High Court issued a summons for the second time in three months, directing Ajay Singh, the Chairman and Managing Director of low-cost airline SpiceJet (SG), to appear in court.
Previously summoned in August 2023, Singh is now required to be present in court on January 10, the next hearing date.
SpiceJet Ajay Singh Summon
This directive from the court followed a statement from Kalanithi Maran’s lawyer, Maninder Singh, who informed the court that SpiceJet owed Rs 440 crore in interest arising from dues related to an arbitral award.
Singh further apprised the court that SpiceJet had paid Rs 100 crore in September but had not made any subsequent payments.
Amit Sibal, a senior advocate representing SpiceJet and its CMD Ajay Singh, contended that the amount owed, according to their assessment, is only Rs 194 crore.
Sibal informed the court that SpiceJet is prepared to offer equity shares in lieu of the outstanding amount. He emphasized that SpiceJet has been facing significant challenges, including the grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft, the impact of the pandemic, and the surge in fuel prices due to the Ukraine war.
Sibal argued that insisting on cash payments would be detrimental to all parties involved, asserting that none of the stakeholders would benefit if SpiceJet faced insolvency. Despite this, Maran rejected the equity shares offer.
As a result, the court summoned Singh to be personally present, aiming to determine the payment method to Maran.
Maran Vs SpiceJet
In September 2023, following the court’s directive, SpiceJet and Singh complied by paying Rs 100 crore to Kalanithi Maran, the chairperson of the Sun Group, addressing part of their outstanding dues.
The court had cautioned that failure to make this payment might result in attaching SpiceJet’s profits from the previous quarter.
Subsequently, Singh was summoned to appear in person after Maran filed an application asserting that SpiceJet had not submitted an affidavit detailing its assets and liabilities despite being instructed to do so in 2020.
Maran contended that, as of August 3, SpiceJet owed him Rs 393 crore and sought the attachment of 50 percent of SpiceJet’s daily revenues to settle the dues. The petition was filed to execute an arbitral award against SpiceJet.
The validity of the arbitral award, initially contested, was upheld by a single high court judge on July 31. SpiceJet and Singh challenged this decision before a division bench of the court.
On July 7, the Supreme Court deemed the award executable, noting that SpiceJet had not adhered to the timeline set in February for specific payments to Maran.
Concluding the case, the top court directed the encashment of SpiceJet’s Rs 270-crore bank guarantee and mandated the airline to pay Rs 75 crore in interest within three months.
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