The Punjab National Bank (PNB) enjoyed a legal victory last week after a tribunal increased the bank's claims against Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai International) by INR2.01 billion Indian rupees (USD24.5 million). India's National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) allowed the increase on appeal after the bank had its claims slashed from INR95.6 billion (USD115.9 million) to INR75.4 billion (USD91.4 million) earlier in the airline's restructuring process.

Tribunal chairman Justice Ashok Bhushan and member Barun Mitra ruled in the bank's favour last week following a court earlier approving a restructuring plan put together by the Kalrock Capital-Murari Lal Jalan consortium which is attempting to complete a buyout and relaunch of the grounded airline. Until that happens, PNB retains a 26% shareholding in Jet Airways but the approved restructuring plan saw the bank take a big haircut on its claims.

"The appellant is aggrieved by reduction of its admitted claim and is entitled to payment of its full debt as per the resolution plan," the bank's lawyers told the tribunal. The consortium, their "resolution professional" from Grant Thornton which trimmed back the claim, Ashish Chhawchharia, and the committee of creditors were the appeal's respondents.

Separately, NCLAT also ordered the Jalan-Kalrock consortium to pay overdue employee pension fund and gratuity payments. Capping off an unsatisfactory week in court for him, Chhawchharia was ordered to make the payments within 30 days. The order was in response to petitions filed by several Jet Airways employee associations.

The Jalan-Kalrock consortium made a number of financial commitments to Jet Airways creditors, including banks and employees, to get their takeover proposal and restructuring plan approved. This happened despite the objections of five employee groups and three external creditors. The approved restructuring plan proposed paying each out-of-pocket employee INR23,000 (USD279) despite some employees being owed up to INR8.5 million (USD103,000). The pension fund and gratuity payments are in addition to this.

The tribunal did not allow the employee's claims for unpaid privileged leave entitlements and a bonus covering the period from April 2018 to June 2019. After numerous delays, there is still no firm date on when the consortium will finalise the takeover and relaunch of Jet Airways.