SpiceJet Seeks Rs 450 crore Refund from Marans

A war of words has begun between SpiceJet and its former owners, the Maran family. The exchange is over a High Court order which the two sides are interpreting differently.

By Sam
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SpiceJet has said it will seek a refund of Rs 450 crore from its erstwhile owner Kalanithi Maran. This comes after the Delhi High Court last week ruled in the airline's favour in a long drawn share transfer dispute. However, Maran's firm KAL Airways has dismissed this claim and said that the Delhi HC order did not make any observations regarding the refund, and therefore, any claim seeking the return of money "does not arise at all", Business Standard reported

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War of Words

"Any suggestion that the airline is entitled to a refund is grossly misconceived and intended to cause mischief and to mislead the public, particularly investors," KAL Airways said in a statement. However, SpiceJet said it had paid Rs 730 crore to Maran and KAL Airways – Rs 580 crore in principal and Rs 150 crore as interest – according to an arbitration tribunal's order in 2018 that was upheld by a single-judge bench in 2023. A division bench of the Delhi High Court overturned that ruling on May 17, paving the way for SpiceJet to seek a refund of Rs 450 crore, it claimed.
KAL Airways responded to SpiceJet's claim, stating that the division bench's order "specifically focused" on reviewing the correctness of the single judge's decision, and has not rendered any decision on the 2018 arbitral award. This means that there is no stay on the execution of the award as of date, it said.
"The division bench has not opined that the award is wrong per se. The division bench has merely required further elaboration on certain specific issues, suggesting that the single judge consider these observations in reassessing the award's validity," the statement said.
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The bench has "neither made any observation nor given any finding" regarding the refund already paid to KAL Airways and Maran by SpiceJet, it stated.
"Therefore, any claim seeking the return of the money already paid to KAL Airways and Mr. Maran, under the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court as well as the Hon'ble High Court, does not arise at all," it mentioned.
KAL Airways mentioned that, at this time, it is diligently and vigorously pursuing the execution of the 2018 arbitral award, seeking a refund of the pending dues amounting to Rs 353.50 crore.
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