Jet Airways' landlord approaches NCLT to repossess building

MUMBAI: The owner of Siroya House, the building that houses grounded Jet Airways’ headquarters in Mumbai, has approached the bankruptcy court, seeking a direction to the custodian of the airline’s assets to vacate the premises.

The lease agreement for the building was terminated on June 7 and the company was admitted for debt resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code on June 20, but goods including computers and files of Jet are still lying in the office, Luckystar Property Holdings told the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

The resolution professional (RP) — appointed by lenders to manage Jet’s assets and debt resolution process — has no power to possess the property which is owned by someone else and not by the corporate debtor, senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas argued in the NCLT for Luckystar Property.

“The law is clear that the possession of property belongs to a licensor and the licensee has only juridical possession till the time which is mentioned in any agreement,” he said, adding: “The corporate debtor (Jet) was in default for two months and now the RP is not vacating the premises.”

The airline has not paid rents from April, Luckystar Property claimed, adding that the agreement empowered it to take back possession of the property after serving a one-month notice. The airline originally owed to the property owner around Rs 18 crore, it said. After deduction of the security deposit, Luckystar Property has claimed dues of Rs 7.81 crore.

“If the RP had any doubt about the possession of the property, he could have come to the tribunal to seek clarity, but he has failed to do so and hence we are seeking the tribunal’s intervention to direct the RP to pay for those months when the building is occupied illegally,” Dwarkadas told the NCLT.

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The tribunal, presided over by VP Singh and Ravikumar Duraisamy, posted the matter for August 8 for the RP to present his side.

On June 20, the Mumbai bench of the NCLT had admitted the insolvency resolution petition against Jet, filed by SBI for a consortium of banks it led. The lenders appointed Ashish Chhawchharia, partner and head of Grant Thornton India’s restructuring practice, as the RP of the company.



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