New Delhi: Attempts to take over Jet Airways, which has been shut due to losses, have intensified. The winning bid was made by Jalan-Kalrock consortium, owned by Murari Lal Jalan, an Indian-origin businessman based in Dubai.
The Jalan Group is primarily involved in the construction business. Jalan-Kalrock consortium prepared a resolution plan to take over Jet Airways and in October 2020 and submitted it to Jet Airways Committee of Creditors (CoC). The CoC has given approval to the plan.
Are the infamous Gupta brothers of South Africa secretly buying Jet Airways?
According to information received by Zee News, the resolution plan given by the Jalan-Kalrock consortium to the CoC of Jet Airways could be misleading.
It appears that the infamous Gupta brothers of South Africa could be behind the purchase. Murari Lal Jalan has a family as well as a business relationship with the brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta.
Murari Lal Jalan’s niece Shivangi Jalan was married to Atul Gupta’s son Shashank Singhal in 2019. Shivangi Jalan’s father Vishal Jalan is the brother of Murari Lal Jalan.
The Gupta brothers are facing serious allegations of corruption in South Africa. They have been accused of obtaining government contracts through shady means, bribery and corruption in South Africa. Even the United States has prohibited individuals and companies to enter into any kind of business deal or agreement with the brothers.
In 2018, an agreement was signed between the Jalan family and the Gupta family to buy and sell stakes in a company. Another agreement regarding loan transactions was made between Akash Garg, a relative of the Gupta brothers, and the Murari Lal Jalan Group.
Zee News has accessed documents that confirm this.
Now that the link between Jalan-Kalrock consortium’s Murari Lal Jalan and the Gupta brothers, who are facing serious charges, has come to light, will any bank or aircraft leasing company agree to work with them?
How can a company worth Rs 1,000 crore bag a Rs 17,000 crore deal?
Whether the economic condition of Murari Lal Jalan is worth running an airline or not is a big question. As per information obtained, the total assets of Murali Lal Jalan is about Rs 1000 crores. Whereas when Jet Airways was shut down the cost of running the airline was so high that it ran a debt of about Rs 17,000 crore.
Moreover, the Jalan Group, which has been associated with the paper industry and construction business, has no experience in the aviation business. How, then, can they run Jet Airways?
The airline business has been tough to manage even for some of the aviation business giants. It is even more so at a time when the entire industry is going through a hard time due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The resolution plan given by Jalan-Kalrock consortium to takeover Jet Airways is currently with the National Company Law Tribunal. Jet Airways will be assigned to Jalan Consortium only after Tribunal’s approval.
But the question is whether the approval from NCLT will be enough to run Jet Airways. It also begs the question that whether there will be a background check of those involved in the new management. After knowing that those accused of corruption and bribery are involved, will the deal be allowed to happen?
According to government regulations, security clearance of people who occupy important positions in the new management of Jet Airways will be required, which will be approved by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Only then will the new company get an airline operator permit and other necessary approval from the government.
The question is whether the ministry will give security clearance after knowing the truth.
Zee News sought comments from Murari Lal Jalan on the matter. We asked Jalan if the Gupta family is behind Jalan-Kalrock consortium. We also asked what the relationship is between Jalan and the Gupta family.
Here’s Murari Lal Jalan’s company’s response:
“The Jalan family has no business relationship with the Gupta brothers of South Africa. In such a situation, it is wrong to associate Jalan and his business with the Gupta family.”
The company said, “It would be wrong to say that Murali Lal Jalan would act as someone else’s front, so such allegations should not be made.”
The company further said, “Murari Lal Jalan’s brother has a relationship with the Gupta family and not Murari Lal Jalan. Their personal relationship is not related to business activities. Murari Lal Jalan has no idea what business the Gupta brothers have in India or elsewhere. In such a case, it would be wrong to link Jalan with the Gupta brothers. We want to emphasize that the Gupta brothers have nothing to do with buying Jet Airways directly or indirectly ”.
The documents accessed by Zee News raises questions on the Jet Airways deal and the investigation in the matter will continue.