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Jet Airways crisis: Naresh Goyal Won't Bid For Stake In Jet As Board Meets On Next Steps

Naresh Goyal has withdrawn from bidding for Jet Airways after Etihad and TPG Capital threatened to cancel their proposals. Goyal had submitted his Expression of Interest (EoI) as part of a consortium on April 12. The initial bid submitted by Goyal's General Sales Agency (GSA), Jetair Pvt Ltd, was backed by Delaware entity, Future Trend Capital. The lenders had offered ownership between 32.1% and 75% in the airline, seeking to recover dues worth over Rs 8,400 crore.

Goyal's ouster from the bidding process comes despite SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar saying that "nobody is barred from bidding or taking over the airline" as per the rules. Several other entities also submitted expressions of interest in the stake sale, including Etihad Airways, which owns 24% of Jet Airways and is the second largest stakeholder, TPG Capital, and Indigo Partners. SBI Capital Markets has the mandate for Jet Airways' sale on behalf of the SBI-led consortium of the domestic lenders to the debt-ridden private carrier. Last month, Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal stepped down from the board of the airline, which has more than Rs 8,000-crore debt.

The fate of Jet Airways continues to hang in balance with the SBI-led consortium of lenders unable to reach a consensus on releasing emergency interim funds to the beleaguered airline in Monday's marathon meeting. Jet Airways' pilots on Monday appealed to the State Bank of India (SBI) to release Rs 1,500 crore for the airline. The National Aviator's Guild (NAG), Jet's pilot's body, also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help save 20,000 jobs. The airline's pilots, engineers and cabin crew assembled at the airline's headquarters to show solidarity towards saving Jet.

On March 25, Jet Airways' board had approved a debt-swap revival plan, under which the lenders were supposed to release an emergency loan of Rs 1,500 crore and, in turn, acquire a majority stake in the airline. But, thus far, they have only disbursed less than Rs 300 crore - and that in small amounts - citing procedural delays.

Jet Airways pilots appeal to SBI for funds, ask PM Modi to save 20,000 jobs

Jet Airways pilots body, the National Aviator's Guild, Monday appealed the State Bank of India (SBI) to release Rs 1,500 crore, which was proposed to be infused in the ailing carrier as part of a debt-restructuring plan last month.

The airline is operating just 6-7 planes, with almost its entire fleet being grounded due to non-payment of rentals to lessors amid severe paucity of cash.

"We would like to appeal SBI to release Rs 1,500 crore funds for the airline to help it continue operations. We also appeal Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save 20,000 odd jobs at the airline," National Aviator's Guild ( NAG) vice president Adim Valiani told reporters.

Earlier, the airline's pilots, engineers and cabin crew members assembled at the headquarters to show their solidarity.

The airline's pilots along with engineers and senior staff were last paid for December 2018. This apart, the airline has also defaulted on the March salary of other categories of employees as well.

Last month, an SBI-led consortium of lenders had taken management control of the airline post a debt-recast deal, following which the lenders had proposed to infuse as much as Rs 1,500 crore to the carrier to keep it afloat till the time it gets an investor.

The Monday meeting with lenders is reportedly expected to take a final decision on the quantum of funds to be infused immediately to avert a possible shut down. A meeting between the airline management and its major lender SBI last Friday could not take a decision on the fund infusion issue.

Pay salary or face legal action: Jet airways pilots send notice to CEO

Jet Airways pilots have sent a legal notice to the airline's CEO threatening legal action over unpaid salaries.

The notice states, "The payment of the salaries of my client's member pilots, has been grossly delayed, and the schedule of payments is getting later and later." The pilots have not been paid the salary of January, February and March months of 2019.

The advocate Jane Cox, in the notice, also mentioned the stress that the pilots are going through. The notice read, "This situation is leading to extreme stress, anxiety, and frustration amongst my client's member pilots - hardly an ideal situation for pilots in the cockpit. Monthly EMIs have to be met, school & college fees paid, along with medical bills of aging parents. Each month the pilots are left, as 

  • juggling to meet these monthly commitments; 
  • worried about the future months as the salary arrears just keep building.

It hardly needs to be stated that passenger safety - the prime concern of all in the industry - requires pilots who are flying stress-free and with a free mind."

The notice, in the end, called upon the airline management to pay the salaries outstanding for the months of January, February and March 2019 by April 14, 2019. If the airline failed to pay the salaries for these months, the pilots would then resort to legal methods.

Jet Airways' problems began when it embarked on an aggressive international expansion plan. It was the airline's ambitious plan to expand business on international routes. It ordered 22 wide-body aircraft for delivery over about 18 months, starting in 2006, depleting cash. However, it failed to compete with a low-cost airline like IndiGo and SpiceJet.

Vijay Mallya Appeal Against UK Extradition Rejected

Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya's written appeal against an extradition order passed by a magistrate late last year has been rejected by a High Court judge in the United Kingdom. He will now face a verbal hearing on his appeal against the decision.

The Westminister Magistrate's Court had ruled against the 62-year-old businessman, who is wanted in India on charges of not paying back loans worth Rs. 9,000 crore, on December 9 last year. Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had concluded that Vijay Mallya has a case to answer in the Indian courts over substantial "misrepresentations" of his financial dealings while he was heading the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid later signed off on the order.

The application for permission to appeal was refused by Justice William Davis on April 5. "The appellant has five business days to apply for verbal consideration. If a renewal application is made, it will be listed before a High Court judge."

Now that the written application has been rejected by Judge Davis, Mallya has the option of submitting for a "renewal". This particular process will lead to a brief oral hearing, during which Vijay Mallya's legal team and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) - on behalf of the Indian government - will renew their respective claims to determine if the matter can proceed to a full hearing.

Vijay Mallya's fortunes have been sliding in recent times, with defense lawyers conveying his willingness to cut his spending to a comparatively lower amount of 29,500 pounds a month. The businessman's debtors -- who accuse him of willfully defaulting on loans taken by Kingfisher Airlines -- are now seeking to seize about 258,000 pounds stashed in his account. They allege that Vijay Mallya continues to lead a "lavish lifestyle" despite legal challenges.

Last heard, he was spending about 18,300 pounds a week. A court document released earlier this week revealed that the businessman's weekly expenditure on groceries came up to over 1,000 pounds a week, and he sees "no need to rein in his spending to reflect his reduced circumstances". 

The walls, however, continue to close in on him. A special court dealing with offenses under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) declared him a fugitive economic offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act on January 5 -- paving the way for the authorities to attach his properties.

BJP manifesto promises reforms in civil services, police, judiciary

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in its manifesto titled 'Sankalp Patra Lok Sabha 2019' released Monday gave a major thrust to reforms in civil services, judiciary and modernization of police forces.

The 'Sankalp Patra' focused on speedy implementation of reforms in the above civil law systems to deliver better public services.

Here is how BJP's vision document for the next 5 years vowed to encourage and promote good governance practices in civil services, judiciary, and police forces:

Civil Service and Governance Reforms:

  • The party focused on the idea to work with the guiding principle of "Minimum Government and Maximum Governance" to bring about the reform in the Civil Services.
  • The party vowed to ensure better implementation of policies and coordination by merging similar and complementary departments into sectoral ministries to enable policymakers frame and implement holistic and comprehensive policies smoothly. 
  • The party promises to implement the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan in a focused manner to build the capacity of members of Panchayati Raj Institutions and ensure effective delivery of schemes at the grassroots levels.

Modernization of Police Forces:

  • The party pledged to take forward the process of modernizing the Central Armed Police Forces to further increase their capacity and readiness as well as enable them to effectively combat internal security challenges.
  • The party ensured providing assistance to the states to upgrade their police forces through the 'Scheme for Modernisation of Police Forces'.
  • The party also vowed to expedite police reforms in the states so as to enable the state police forces to deal with new types of crimes such as cyber crimes as well as help them to be more sensitive to the citizens, especially the weak and vulnerable sections of the society.

Police reforms:

  • The party promised effective policing and peaceful law and development by changing and transforming the present police force according to the challenges of the 21st century.
  • The party pledged to formulate a 'Model Police Act' in consultation with the states to have a pro-people citizen friendly police to help take the Indian policing at par with its contemporaries anywhere in the world.
  • The party said that it will set up a Police University at par with world-class Technology, Science and Medical Institutions in the country and encourage the states to establish similar institutions of excellence.

Judicial Reforms:

  • The party vowed to work towards simplifying procedural laws, encouraging mediation and strengthening judicial and court management system to increase accessibility.
  • The party promised to make India the hub of arbitration services where it will increase the number of Alternative Dispute Resolution forums to ensure avenues for quick disposal of matters.

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