The Jalan Kalrock Consortium (JKC), the would-be new owners of Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai International), have again been accused of delaying tactics after approaching the courts for permission to substitute a INR1.5 billion rupee (USD18.1 million) bank guarantee with a new instrument.

This follows India's Supreme Court ordering the consortium to pay the amount into an escrow account by January 31, 2024, or risk forfeiting their right to acquire the insolvent airline. The order overruled an August 2023 National Company Law Appellate Tribunal ruling that allowed the JKC to use the guarantee to cover the remaining amount due to creditors as part of a resolution agreement negotiated in 2021.

According to India's Economic Times, in the lead-up to the end-of-January deadline, the consortium went back to court to ask the lenders to release the bank guarantee, saying they would deposit the full amount owed within seven days using a new instrument.

After Jet Airways collapsed in April 2019, administrators admitted creditor claims of INR78 billion (USD940.5 million). Two years later, in exchange for allowing the JKC to buy the remains of Jet Airways, the consortium agreed to pay out-of-pocket creditors and lenders INR3.5 billion (USD42.2 million). The INR1.5 billion is the final tranche of that amount. However, the relationship between the consortium, the administrator, and the committee of creditors (a group of 11 banks) has become so acrimonious that the sale and transition process is incomplete and subject to ongoing disputes and litigation.

Reflecting the poor relationship, the creditors' committee has reportedly opposed the JKC's latest offer, saying it is another delaying tactic. The consortium comprises the Dubai-based Murari Lal Jalan and UK-based Kalrock Capital. Their lawyers say money is coming from Dubai, but as both JKC parties are not Indian residents they need permission from India's central bank to complete the transfer. They all blame bank holidays for further delays. They claim that if they receive clearance from the court and bank, the INR1.5 billion "can immediately be deposited" into the nominated escrow account.

In what has become a tit-for-tat series of accusations and allegations, the JKC blames the creditors for delaying the ownership transfer. "The lenders, after multiple reminders, haven't completed the conditions that were part of a resolution process," it said in their court filing last week.