Court reprieve for Mallya in Kingfisher case

Bangalore, Sep 17 (IANS) The Karnataka High Court Tuesday deferred, by a week, its Monday summons for appearance of Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya as he is abroad.

When Mallya's counsel informed the court that his client was not in Bangalore to appear Tuesday, as he was travelling abroad, Justice Ram Mohan Reddy kept his summons order in abeyance for one week.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by six creditors to wind-up the defunct airline for failing to pay their dues in spite of several reminders.

The six petitioners are IAE International Aero Ltd, RRPF Engine Leasing, Rolls-Royce & Partners Finance, Avions de Transport Regional GIE and PNB Paribas, which supplied aircraft, components and funds to the crisis-ridden airline.

Passing the order, Reddy, however, directed the airline's holding company - United Breweries Holding Ltd (UBHL) to file an audit report on sale of its shares to Diageo plc, a multinational alcoholic beverages firm in London, in a week.

With the high court's permission May 24, UBHL sold 13 million shares of United Spirits Ltd of the UB group at the rate of Rs.1,440 per share and deposited the surplus amount (Rs.250 crore) with the court to show its bonafides that it was willing to settle the dues of the petitioners.

The sale was part of the Diageo deal to acquire 19.3 percent stake in the UB group and allotment of preferential shares to increase its equity share to 27.4 percent subsequently.

In a related development, the court took on record an application moved by the airline's employees against the winding-up petitions and directed the airline management to submit a revival plan in four weeks.

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