India’s National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) will hand down its decision on May 30 regarding a bid by the State Bank of India (SBI) to encash Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai International) bank guarantees worth INR1.5 billion rupees (USD18.1 million).

The Jalan Kalrock Consortium (JKC), who are attempting to buy Jet Airways, had issued the bank guarantees, and are now attempting to stop the bank converting the guarantees to cash. In November 2022, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) gave the JKC six months to pay USD22.4 million owed to creditors, including the SBI. The deadline to make the payment was May 14, 2023. However, counsel for the SBI says no funds were forthcoming.

As reported in India's Economic Times, on May 22 the NCLAT heard the arguments from both parties and said it would defer its decision until the end of the month. The tribunal also urged the parties to co-operate to implement the resolution plan.

Jet Airways ceased operations in April 2019, with the consortium named as the buyer 18 months later. In mid 2021, the NCLT approved a resolution plan, which included an equity infusion of INR9 billion (USD108.6 million) and payments to creditors of INR4.75 billion (USD57.3 million). However, since then, ongoing disputes between the creditors, lead by SBI, and the JKC, meant no payments were ever made and the sale process remains incomplete, preventing the relaunch of the airline. The resolution plan, which was agreed to by creditors, involved a deep discount on the INR77.08 billion (USD942 million) in admitted claims.

Counsel for the consortium told the NCLT that the creditors were to blame for the delay in payments. They said bank account details were not provided until April 13, not giving JKC enough time (32 days) to make the payments before the mid-May deadline. Reportedly, counsel for the consortium told the tribunal the creditor's tardiness was sufficient reason to invalidate the November order, and asked for a new payment timeline to be set.

Approaching three years since the JKC was named the preferred buyer, there are some signs the acquisition is running out of steam. Aside from the ongoing failures to make payments, a raft of senior executives, including the CEO-designate have recently resigned, and the air operator's certificate was allowed to expire last week. India-based media are reporting that the consortium is yet to begin the recruitment process for a new CEO.