Many airports have filed cases against Kingfisher for dishonouring cheques. However, this time GMR made sure that the Court in Hyderabad issues non-bailable warrant against Vijay Mallya as well
Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher Airlines continues to be drawn in to more troubles for itself and its owner as well. On Friday, a local Court from Hyderabad has issued non-bailable warrant against the carrier and its chairman in a cheque bouncing case filed by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd.
GMR, which manages Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, had filed a case against Kingfisher in the Special Magistrate's Court for dishonouring cheques worth over Rs10 crore by the Vijay Mallya-owned Airlines.
The 13th Special Magistrate Court at Erramanzil issued the warrant against Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya, CEO Sanjay Agarwal and three other directors of the company and posted the case to 5th November.
The court had earlier taken cognisance of the matter and issued summons against the company and the five directors (including Mallya and Agarwal) asking them to appear before it by Friday.
The counsel of Kingfisher, who had appeared on their behalf, filed an application before the court over non-appearance of their clients and requested the court not to issue the NBW.
However, Judge Kedara Chary dismissed the same and issued the NBW against them, one of the counsels of GMR JB Chenna Keshava Rao said.
There was an agreement between Kingfisher and GMR under which Kingfisher was collecting user development charges/fee from passengers with regard to Hyderabad airport charges and the Mallya-owned carrier was supposed to remit GMR the money amounting to around Rs 10.5 crore, which it did not pay.
"They (Kingfisher and Mallya) became due and were liable to pay the amount over Rs 10 crore. When we demanded the amount, they issued cheques over a period of time since January this year which were dishonoured when presented for clearance. After this, legal notices were also served but they did not make the payments," Rao said.
Last month, GMR-operated Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd (DIAL) dragged Kingfisher to court after cheques of about Rs3 crore issued by the carrier, bounced.
Earlier in July, GVK-run Mumbai International Airport also filed a case against Kingfisher Airlines in cheque bounce issue. The court at that time, issued summons against top management of Kingfisher for dishonouring cheques worth about Rs15 crore.
According to media reports, Kingfisher owes over Rs40 crore, including airport user fee, to DIAL.
Kingfisher also owes Airports Authority of India (AAI) the maximum amount of over Rs250 crore towards charges relating to landing and parking, route navigation facility charges and licence fee.
Meanwhile, according to a PTI report, the ailing Airlines has extended its lockout till the next weekend, apparently after failing to convince its striking staffers, protesting delay in salaries, to return to work.
Airline sources said the airline management, in an internal mail, has said that due to operational reasons, all flights across its network would be cancelled till 20th October.
The mail came a day after Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal appealed to all employees, striking over non-payment of salaries for seven months, to return to work to resume flight operations soon. The employees are insisting that the salaries be paid first before they resume duty.
With all its flights cancelled since the lockout declared on 4th October, aviation regulator DGCA earlier asked liquor baron Vijay Mallya-owned carrier to stop selling tickets following reports that it had started accepting bookings last week before ending its lockout.
Kingfisher had declared a lockout on 28th September till October four following the strike, cancelling its entire flight schedule, and extended it till 12th October later. This has now been extended till 20th October.
On 5th October, DGCA issued a show-cause notice to Kingfisher asking why its flying license should not be suspended or cancelled as it had grounded its entire fleet and failed to offer safe, efficient and reliable service. It has given the airline 15 days to reply.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has also said the airline would have to submit a concrete plan to DGCA on safety and salary payments, before it is allowed to resume flights.
Kingfisher has been saddled with a loss of Rs8,000 crore and a debt burden of another over Rs7,000 crore, a large part of which it has not serviced since January.