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BW Businessworld

Jet Not Liable To Pay Sahara Rs 2,000 Cr

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The Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed an appeal filed by Sahara India challenging its earlier order which had held that Jet Airways was liable to pay Rs 1450 crore for purchase of Sahara Airlines (now Jetlite).

According to Sahara India, Jet Airways was liable to pay Rs 2,000 crore (the original buyout price) instead of the renegotiated amount of Rs 1450 crore because the latter had defaulted in paying instalments by deducting income tax dues.

The court also dismissed an appeal filed by Jet Airways which had challenged the earlier order of the High Court asking them to pay the balance dues to Sahara at the interest of nine per cent.

Jet Airways had contended that they were not liable to pay the interest at the above rate because they had not defaulted and had only deducted income tax dues, which were liable to be paid by Sahara.

Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice G S Godbole dismissed both the appeals of Sahara India and Jet Airways, saying they were not maintainable.

The Bombay High Court had admitted the appeal filed by Sahara India in June. Sahara's appeal had been admitted by a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Girish Godbole.

Sahara had earlier sought a stay on the order passed by Justice D Y Chandrachud on May 5. The Judge had asked Jet Airways to pay the remaining amount of Rs 478 crore (from the purchase price of Rs 1,450 crore) within two weeks to Sahara for the buyout.

The Rs 478 crore comprises of the interest accrued at the rate of 9 percent, as ordered by the Judge, on the initial pending amount of Rs 402 crore.

Sahara has pleaded in the appeal that 9 per cent interest was less and that it should get more. After the deal was signed, Jet had paid Rs 900 crore to Sahara and agreed to pay the remaining amount in four instalments from 2008.

The Income Tax department had earlier slapped a notice of Rs 107 crore on Sahara. While Jet said Sahara was liable to pay this amount as it pertained to period before acquisition of the airline, Sahara argued it was not liable to pay for it.

On account of the I-T notice, Jet deducted Rs 37 crore and Rs 50 crore, respectively, from the two instalments it paid to the Lucknow-based corporate group.