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Rediff.com  » Business » Jet-Sahara final hearing in April

Jet-Sahara final hearing in April

January 10, 2007 15:20 IST
No immediate relief was in sight for Jet Airways, with an Arbitration Tribunal adjourning arguments of the airline as well its failed takeover target Air Sahara till April.

India's largest private airline would now have to wait it out till the first week of April, when the hearing on its plea for refund of Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) paid as advance to Sahara resumes. But Jet counsel Harish Salve said the airline has not "pressed" for refund.

Besides, Jet has sought dispensation of the Rs 1,500 crore (Rs 15 billion) bank guarantee, which had earlier been deposited as escrow account -- which would be taken up by the panel in the final hearing, the airline's counsel Harish Salve said.

He refuted that the arbitration panel had ruled in favour of Sahara, saying the matter was adjourned till April, when final hearing would be held non-stop for two weeks.  Salve said the arbitration panel directed the parties to file evidence on record when the hearing resumes.

Jet Airways said in a statement that at the hearing held in Mumbai it did not press for the release of the advance payment of Rs 500 crore and reserved its rights to do so in the suit in Bombay High Court, and Sahara accepted the position that the pledge of the shares continues.

As also to the Bank Guarantee, Jet Airways agreed that the matter be deferred until April 2007 when the main case will be heard, reserving the right to revive the applications if the case is delayed, the statement said.

Jet and Air Sahara had in November approached the Arbitration Tribunal headed by British Judge Lord Stein to resolve matters arising out of a failed Rs 2,300 crore (Rs 23 billion) takeover deal reached in January 2006.

After the deal fell through in June 2006, Sahara and Jet moved different courts seeking relief. But the Supreme Court transferred all litigation to the Bombay High Court, which in turn directed them to resolve differences through arbitration.

Justice S P Bharucha and Justice BP Jeevan Reddy, both retired judges of the Supreme Court, are on the panel as nominees of Jet and Air Sahara respectively.
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