Will argue deal was engineered to destroy market competitor
IT IS going to be a long, intense fight in the court for Jet Airways and Air Sahara. And the two airlines, which recently fell out over a 2,300-crore takeover deal, seem to have worked out their plans for it.
Sources close to Air Sahara told HT that the airline has appointed Ernst &Young to quantify the damages it will seek through arbitration.
Sources said Sahara will seek direct damages of over Rs 2,000 crore from Jet through a process of arbitration once the Bombay High Court appoints the arbitrator. Jet has filed a petition under Section 9 in the Bombay HC which will come up for hearing in two weeks. Till the time of the verdict, Sahara wants the escrow account of Rs 1,500 crore with ICICI Bank frozen.
Sahara chief Subrata Roy is game for the battle and has given its team of lawyers —led by legal luminary Fali Nariman — the go-ahead. In all likelihood, Nariman will argue the case for Sahara in arbitration.
On the other hand, Jet on Tuesday said it would soon file a petition before the Supreme Court seeking transfer of all cases, relating to its failed takeover deal of Air Sahara, pending before the Bombay HC and a Lucknow court. Jet will also seek other relief from the SC.
Sahara’s plea before the arbitrator will be based on several pillars. The essence of the argument will be the mala fide intent of Jet — of it not honouring the commitments in the shareholders’ agreement. The edifice will be based on how the process was engineered to destroy a market competitor. Sahara will cite erosion of its employee base and market share because of Jet.
Jet said “any comments on the merits of the controversies between parties would be inappropriate and improper”.