As if the existing financial woes were not enough, troubled Kingfisher Airlines’ (KfA) founder Vijaya Mallya, was slapped with a non-bailable arrest warrant by a local court in Hyderabad in a cheque bounce case.
Four others, apart from the and Mallya, were also named as accused.
The warrant came after Mallya and others failed to show up at the 13th Special Magistrate’s court here Friday in a Rs 10. 50 crore cheque bounce case filed by airport operator GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL).
This comes as fresh trouble for the airline, which has been grounded for the last two weeks following strikes by its workforce due to non-payment of salaries.
GHIAL, which operates the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, had filed a case in August after four cheques aggregating to Rs 10.50 crore issued by KfA bounced.
The cheques had been issued as part of the airport user fee including parking, landing and navigation charges.
According to officials, the airline collects service fee and user development fee from passengers and remits the same to the GHIAL.
“The KfA collected both the fees and issued the cheques to GHIAL which were dishonoured,” the counsel for GHIAL J B Chennakesava Rao told Express.
GHIAL then sent legal notices to KfA but the latter did not respond, forcing the former to move court
The respondents in the case include Kingfisher, its chairman Mallya, CEO Sanjay Agarwal, chief financial officer A Raghunathan and the companies authorised signatories Inder Singh and Vishveswar.
“The accused have been very irregular in payment of charges and huge amounts remain outstanding,” the complaint said.
The airline was supposed to pay a total of more than Rs 25.02 crore.
On March 16, 2012, KFA issued a cheque for Rs 2.50 crore drawn on Axis Bank Limited but the same was dishonoured when it was cashed in by GHIAL.
Another cheque was drawn on IDBI bank limited, Chapel Road, falling under the Narayanguda police limits.
They then sent a legal notice to KfA on April 11, 2012.
The notice was acknowledged but the accused did not pay up.
The court had issued summons to the accused and asked them to personally appear before the court on Friday.
The counsel of the accused filed a petition dispensing their personal attendance but it was dismissed by magistrate L Kedarachary, who issued the NBW and posted the matter for further hearing on November 5.
“GHIAL had filed four cheque bounce cases against Kingfisher Airlines amounting to Rs 10.50 crores.
Since they (the airline) failed to appear before the magistrate, the court has ordered issuance of NBW against Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), Vijay Mallya and four other officials.
At this stage, GHIAL would not like to comment more,” the operator said in a statement.
Earlier in June, the Mumbai International Airport, managed by power-to-ports major GVK Group, had filed a cheque bounce case against Kingfisher in a Mumbai criminal court.
It also owes more than Rs 40 crore to the Delhi International airport, which is also run by the Bangalore-based infrastructure firm GMR Group.
Meanwhile, shares of KFA, which is in a state of virtual lockout till October 20, closed at Rs11.40 on Friday, 0.44 per cent down from its previous close of Rs 11.45 on BSE.