MUMBAI: Even as lenders turned the heat on beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya, former employees from his long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines on Wednesday held a protest here seeking help from the government and Supreme Court to ensure quick disbursal of their outstanding salaries and dues.
Hundreds of employees who once worked for Kingfisher have not received their remuneration and service benefits since the luxury carrier grounded in October 2012 following a major financial crisis with huge loans, and payment defaults including to oil companies, airports and tax authorities.
About 30 employees on Wednesday held a protest at the Kingfisher House near the domestic airport here, demanding that their pending salaries and dues be paid.
The protest came even as reports said that Mallya had left the country a week back.
The employees also alleged that they were under scanner of tax authorities as Kingfisher had failed to deposit the TDS with the income tax department.
"Our TDS was deducted by the company but the same has not been paid to the tax department as a result of which we are being served with tax notices now," Anirudha Ballal, an ex-employee of Kingfisher told PTI.
"We want that the government, the Supreme Court and the debt recovery tribunal to take initiative to make Mallya pay the dues," he said.
The employees have alleged that Mallya, who has been giving them false promises, has been able go away scot free by eliciting "political favours".
They also felt that British liquor major Diageo which acquired a majority 53.4 per cent stake in United Spirits should pay up for the liabilities that the Mallya-group owes to its employees.
According to Ballal, several employees had to face various difficulties following the fiasco. While some have found jobs at salaries less than what they were earning at Kingfisher, some have not been so lucky.
The Debt Recovery Tribunal, on Monday, barred Mallya from accessing USD 75 million (Rs 515 crore) exit payment from Diageo till the loan default case with SBI is settled while the ED registered a money laundering case against him in another default case.
Rejecting allegations that he is an "absconder" in the wake of his statement to spend more time in England, the liquor baron has promised to continue to cooperate with investigative agencies related to the loans provided by banks to long-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.