HC tells SpiceJet to deposit Rs579 cr in dispute with Maran

The Delhi High Court today directed SpiceJet to deposit Rs579 crore with the court in a case filed by Kalanithi Maran and his Kal Airways Pvt Ltd over a share transfer dispute.

Additionally, the court asked both parties to consider arbitration proceedings to resolve the dispute.

Judge Manmohan Singh granted SpiceJet five months to deposit the money.

The case relates to a dispute arising out of non-issuance of warrants in favour of Maran after transfer of ownership to Ajay Singh, the current controlling shareholder of SpiceJet Ltd.

Maran and Kal Airways had transferred their entire 350.4 million shares in SpiceJet, amounting to a 58.46 per cent stake, to its co-founder Singh in February 2015, when the ownership of the airline changed hands.

Under the deal, which gave Singh control of the airline, they were to receive redeemable warrants in return for the Rs690 crore they spent on SpiceJet towards operating costs and debt payment.

Maran has also sought a refund of Rs690 crore, an amount that had been paid by him and Kal Airways to SpiceJet at the time of transfer of ownership of the airline in 2015.

On 15 March, the court had directed SpiceJet to pass a board resolution within three days, authorising joint representatives to appear before the BSE to approve the resolution and pass an order on issue of warrants in favour of Maran and his Kal Airways.

The resolution has been pending before the BSE and the Securities and Exchange Board of India for final approval. The capital markets regulator informed the court on 18 May of its inability to approve a resolution for transfer of warrants in favour of Maran.

According to a regulatory filing by SpiceJet in February last year, Singh holds a 60.31 per cent stake in the airline. Prior to acquiring the entire stake of Maran and Kal Airways, Singh's shareholding stood at 1.85 per cent.