Karnataka High Court summons Mallya Tuesday

Bangalore, Sep 16 (IANS) The Karnataka High Court Monday summoned Kingfisher Airlines' chairman Vijay Mallya to appear in person Tuesday in connection with a bunch of petitions by creditors and financiers seeking winding-up of the defunct airline.

Passing the order, a single bench of Justice Ram Mohan Reddy said as Mallya was also chairman of United Breweries Holdings Ltd (UBHL), which is the guarantor for the defunct airline, the court would like to hear him in person on issues raised by the petitioners.

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

The petitions were filed in May as the cash-strapped airline failed to honour its commitment to pay their dues despite reminders.

Besides creditors, a consortium of 14 banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) petitioned the high court July 13 to recover their cumulative loans, amounting to Rs.6,203 crore, from the airline.

The crisis-hit airline's permit to fly was suspended in October 2012 by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on safety concerns and due to labour problems.

The five-year-old airline accumulated losses to the tune of Rs.16,023.46 crore as of March 31, 2013 and its net worth stood at a negative Rs.12,919.81 crore.

An unfazed Mallya told reporters Sept 12 on the margins of the holding company's annual general meeting (AGM) that he was not in favour of winding up the airline as efforts were on to revive it soon.

"We are not in favour of winding-up as we are continuing our efforts to review the airline," he said.

Asserting that the Rs.250-crore UBHL had deposited in the high court would take care of the winding-up petitions, Mallya said serious claims were only from three of the six petitioners.

"As the cases are in the high court and the matter is under sub-judice, I will not be able to comment. Though six winding up petitions are before the company court, we are in talks with two of them for out-of-court settlement," Mallya then noted.


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