November 26, 2019

IndiGo’s Independent Director Anupam Khanna Urges US Court To Quash Summons Against Him To Extract Papers

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


IndiGo’s independent director Anupam Khanna has urged a US court to quash a legal summons against him.

The Maryland District Court had issued a summons against Khanna to get documents from him to be used in a separate case which the airline’s founder Rahul Bhatia has filed against his partner and co-founder Rakesh Gangwal.

Incidentally, the “documentary and testimonial evidence” which the summons (subpoenas) seeks to extract from Khanna specifically refers to his correspondence with Gangwal since July 2018.

According to the petition filed by Bhatia and his IGE Group, July 2018 is when Gangwal first demanded that Bhatia and his IGE Group’s controlling rights in the airline be diluted.

It is this contention, which along with others, snowballed into a public feud between the two partners who set up IndiGo airlines.

Bhatia has accused Khanna of “acting in concert” with Gangwal on the basis of his emails which Gangwal himself uploaded onto a website which he set up to give public updates about his differences with Bhatia.

It may be recalled that on October 15, Rahul Bhatia and his IGE Group filed a petition in Maryland District Court in the US, against independent director Anupam Khanna.

Bhatia accused Khanna of acting in concert with Rakesh Gangwal who also stands legally accused by Bhatia of breaching the IndiGo shareholders’ agreement.

Later, a summons from the court sought to extract documents of Khanna’s correspondence with Gangwal.

However, Bhatia also filed a case on the alleged breach of shareholders’ agreement in the Indian branch of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) on October 1.

Therefore, Khanna’s lawyers have stated that the law invoked in the case filed against him in the US court provides “no authority for subpoenas (summons),” since it is a “private arbitration” and not a “foreign tribunal.”

Khanna’s lawyers also stated that he is a citizen of India and not a party to the Indian arbitration at the LCIA.

“The petitioners are effectively placing the cart before the horse as they initiate premature discovery in a foreign jurisdiction, the State of Maryland, for use in a private arbitration that was initiated in India barely one month ago,” Khanna’s attorneys said.

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