Kingfisher airlines gets interim relief in payment default case

Aug 29 2014, 01:16 IST
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SummaryThe bank had issued the notice alleging the carrier has wilfully defaulted in payment of outstanding dues of more than Rs 770 crore.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday set aside a Punjab National Bank (PNB) notice to the extent that Kingfisher airlines and its guarantors, United Breweries (Holdings) and Vijay Mallya, will be deemed as wilful defaulters in the event of no reply to the bank's notice within seven days from August 21.

The bank had issued the notice alleging the carrier has wilfully defaulted in payment of outstanding dues of more than Rs 770 crore. On Thursday, PNB submitted before the court that dues to be recovered from the airlines are more than Rs 800 crore.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru said the operation of the default notice would not come in effect as PNB will have to give the documents, relied upon by it, within a week from Thursday. The airlines has been given two weeks’ time thereafter to respond.

The court also held as "unacceptable" the bank's reasons for not allowing the airlines to be represented by lawyers in the proceedings initiated to decide whether the grounded carrier is a wilful defaulter for non-payment of dues and directed that two advocates be allowed to represent Kingfisher.

It asked the bank to supply within a week all the documents it has relied upon or intends to rely upon in the matter, saying there is "no justifiable reason" to depart from the practice in the present case.

Kingfisher had moved the court seeking directions to the bank to rescind its August 21, 2014 notice and those issued earlier as well as to restrain it from taking any action against the airlines in pursuance of the same.

The court also addressed the bank's apprehension that the airlines is intending to delay the proceedings.

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