Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Tuesday stayed an application by Sahara India Commercial Corp. Ltd (SICCL) to seize assets of Jet Airways (India) Ltd till it considers the matter further.
Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari said Sahara cannot attach any of Jet Airways’ immoveable assets or aircraft until the matter is heard next week.
SICCL’s 26 March application claimed Jet Airways had defaulted on payments towards the purchase of Air Sahara. Jet Airways bought Sahara Airline Ltd, which operated Air Sahara, in April 2007, and rebranded it as Jet Lite.
“The matter will be heard on 9 April while Jet Airways was asked to file an undertaking that it will not take third party interests on its immoveable assets or planes,” a Jet Airways executive said on condition of anonymity.
SICCL executives did not respond phone calls. Saroj K. Datta, executive director of Jet Airways, said he had no comment on the court order.
Jet’s lawyer Janak Dwarkadas told Mint that Jet Airways has paid its pending instalment on Monday after deducting Rs50 crore that was claimed by the income-tax department.
The Jet executive quoted earlier said SICCL had claimed that Rs900 crore has become due in March and that it is entitled to attach Jet Airways’ assets.
In its buyout agreement with the Sahara group on 17 April 2007, Jet Airways had agreed to pay Rs550 crore spread over four equal instalments beginning March 2008 through March 2011. Jet bought Sahara Airlines Ltd for Rs1,450 crore, of which it paid Rs900 crore by 20 April 2008.
In March 2008, the income- tax department demanded pending taxes of Rs107 crore from Sahara Airlines. Jet Airways argued that since the amount was due from before the acquisition, it was not responsible for the liability. Jet Airways then deducted Rs37 crore from its March 2008 instalment.
“It is the position of Jet Airways that this liability is to be borne by SICCL and since arrangements for payment of this liability were not made by SICCL, these amounts deposited by Jet Lite were deducted from the instalments payable under the award... Since the matter is sub-judice, we have been advised not to make any comments on the merits of the matter,” the airline said in a statement on Monday.
Jet Airways’ shares on Tuesday fell 1.74% to close at Rs169.90 on the Bombay stock Exchange, while its benchmark Sensex index closed 1.47% higher at 9,708.50 points.