Companies & Sectors
Now, crippled Kingfisher losing engineers over non-payment of salaries

Some 60-80 engineers have already quit debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines in the last 4-5 months over non-payment of salaries


Mumbai: About 80 engineers have quit beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines during the past four months due to non-payment of salaries by the near-bankrupt carrier, sources said, reports PTI.

"Some 60-80 engineers have already quit the carrier in the last 4-5 months, as they could not sustain non-payment of salaries. And more are planning to do so," airline sources told PTI.

Some more engineers are in the process of bidding good-bye to the carrier, they said, adding that "if the trend continues, the airline may face severe shortage of engineers."

Also, around 200 engineers reported sick in April this year protesting delay in salaries.

Unfazed by the large exodus, Kingfisher, however, maintained that it has 'sufficient number' of engineers to maintain its fleet.

"We have sufficient number of engineers to support our operations," a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said in a text message.

Relegated to the bottom of the market pie with its share nose-diving to a mere 5.2% in May from as high as 20% last year, on account of a truncated flights, the airline has not paid salary to its employees since February.

The airline, which has not posted profit since its inception in May 2005, made a loss of Rs1,151.5 crore in the March quarter, has debt of over Rs7,500 crore and an equal amount of accumulated losses.

The Bangalore-based carrier, which has also been defaulting on tax payments as well as bills to its vendors, has been seeking fresh bank funds since last December apart from trying to raise overseas funds unsuccessfully.

But bankers have been resisting the demand saying the promoters, including chairman Vijay Mallya himself, have to bring in at least Rs2,000 crore in fresh capital to consider the demand.

Kingfisher had pledged assets ranging from its brand to office furniture for Rs6,400 crore bank loans, according to the Finance Ministry.

This includes a luxury villa in Goa, two helicopters, a building in Mumbai and shares have also been used as collateral for loans as of November 2011, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena had told Parliament last December.


Business events veil prostitution rackets in Goa, alleges NGO

There is a new phenomenon in which girls are recruited through event management agency by the companies holding their conferences in Goa, Anyay Rahit Zindagi alleged


Panaji: Business conferences and commercial events are serving as a new front for flesh trade with girls from various states being trafficked for these events in Goa, a city-based non-government organisation (NGO) alleged, reports PTI.

Of late, the trend of trafficking girls in the name of business conferences in Goa has been an area of grave concern said, Anyay Rahit Zindagi (ARZ), an NGO working towards rescue and rehabilitation of victims of flesh trade and commercial sexual exploitation.

"There is a new phenomenon in which girls are recruited through event management agency by the companies holding their conferences in Goa. They are also indulged in prostitution during the conferences," ARZ director Arun Pandey alleged while talking to mediapersons on Tuesday.

Several girls from a film city in Andhra Pradesh were rescued by police from Anjuna when they were brought by Andhra Pradesh-based fertilizer firm for their conference in Goa. The conference was to entertain the distributors, Pandey further alleged.

In the recent past, two raids were conducted by Goa police on similar conferences where girls were employed for prostitution, he said.

In collaboration with Goa Directorate of Women and Child Development, ARZ today began a two-day long consultation to formulate strategy to check human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Goa.

The government and NGO representatives from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, which are considered as a source states for trafficking, are participating in consultation programme.

Police officials, who raided few conferences, said they were surprised during their investigations that a new front has been emerging in the state.

"The girls were found to have been brought with the proper knowledge of what they have to do during the conference in the guise of event management," police inspector Gurudas Kadam, who cracked down the racket run by an Andhra Pradesh based company, told a gathering in Panaji.

Women and Child Development department Director Sanjiv Gadkar said the state government will network with the source states to verify whether the event management companies organising conferences in Goa have valid registrations.

Consultations with the source states will help the state government in their efforts to ascertain the background of the girls who are usually employed in the event management during the conferences, Gadkar said.


President Patil climbs down, settles for a modest 2,500 sq ft home in Pune

Situated about five kilometres from the controversial post-retirement home which she abandoned, this new bungalow is the official residence of a senior officer from the Police Wireless Department

From building a palatial post-retirement home on 2,42,000 sq ft of prime defence land in Khadki, Pune, to settling for a modest 2,500 sq ft (for which she is eligible) existing government bungalow, the climb down has been historic with Moneylife playing a vital role in compelling her to abide by the law.

Situated about five kilometres from the controversial post-retirement home which she abandoned, this new bungalow is the official residence of a senior officer of the Police Wireless Department. While there are whispers of the wireless department sulking for not having been consulted about this takeover, Moneylife did not get any confirmation about this grouse.

Located in the tranquil area of Pashan Road, in the vicinity of the Rural Pune Police Headquarters and the University of Pune, it is a relatively quiet area. Her daughter, Jyoti Rathore, who is a resident of Pune did a reconnaissance of the bungalow and gave her approval. Now, the formalities of the state government handing it over to the central government which would be taking it on rent for President Patil, should commence soon.

As a sequel to a stinging investigative series of articles in Moneylife between 11th April (when we broke the first story) and 25th April, President Patil returned the land on 27th April. Ever since, the hunt was on for an alternative home, with Pune being her first choice, though there were news reports that she had decided to retire in Delhi.

Last week, officers of the urban development ministry surveyed a few houses identified by the state government and finally put their stamp on ‘Raigad’ as the bungalow is named. It will undergo refurbishment before President Patil settles down here.

It may be recalled that Moneylife first broke the story on the excess land grabbed by Patil to build her post retirement home. War veterans Col Suresh Patil (retd) and Commander Ravindra Patil (retd) had been campaigning against this issue since January 2012. Moneylife highlighted information procured under the RTI (Right to Information) by Col Patil which stated that under the home ministry rules, any president of India, post retirement is eligible only for a 2,000 sq ft house, rented out by the government. Or he or she can occupy a maximum 4,498 sq ft house, in case, in the city or town of the president’s choice, the senior-most government official resides in a bungalow of the same area (4,498 sq ft).

Besides, Moneylife accessed some other documents that were procured under RTI, which had incriminating evidence against President Patil violating the norms of a post-retirement home for a president. These included a letter from the President of India’s office to the Defence Estate Office (DEO) Pune, questioning the ‘precedence’ of allocating such a vast land for personal purposes. The DEO had kept mum in this regard.  The site inspection report by the DEO Pune gave away the truth that the two bungalows in good condition and an open land in between them—all amounting to 5.60 acres were given away. One of the bungalows was demolished to pave way for massive construction. This, despite the fact that in another communication, the Office of the President of India had written to the DEO, Pune that it is not advisable to build a new structure on the land and that only they should be refurbished. Most importantly, both the bungalows rested on A-1 Defence Land, meaning they can be used strictly only for official army purpose.

Unable to bear the bad publicity that came her way, President Patil was forced to surrender the land, though the official press release from the President’s office stated that she was hurt by the kind of publicity she received. The war veterans argued that Pune, being an important Army Station, officers and jawans find it difficult to get residential accommodation when they are posted here. Against this backdrop the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forced taking away prime defence land was unacceptable to them.

In fact, the retreat by the President Patil proved for the first time in the history of Indian journalism that a small-time online media group, along with social media, charged up an entire nation. Not only did the first story become a “Tweeting trend” of the day (12th April) but the series compelled President Patil to give it all up.

(Vinita Deshmukh is the editor of Life 365 ( She is also the consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte. She can be reached at [email protected])




5 years ago

The credit for this must go to you and your team. Thanks for this service to the people of India.

P M Ravindran

5 years ago

Thanks to Moneylife and the veteran soldiers for driving some sense into this criminal woman who polluted Rashtrapathi Bhavan for 5 long years!

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