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Apex court denies relief to Kingfisher

Plea trashed

New Delhi, Sept. 2 (PTI): Kingfisher Airlines today did not get any relief from the Supreme Court, which refused to interfere with the order of the grievance redressal committee of the United Bank of India (UBI) declaring it and its promoter Vijay Mallya as a wilful defaulter.

“Your grievance has been, that grievance redressal committee (GRC) should not decide the matter but they have already decided it, therefore your plea is infructuous,” a bench comprising justices A.R. Dave and U.U. Lalit said.

Kingfisher submitted that the grievance panel passed the order despite being informed that it had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against Calcutta High Court’s order dismissing its plea that Mallya and the board of directors might be represented by its law officers or company secretary on a showcause notice by the UBI for alleged wilful default on the payment of Rs 400 crore in dues.

The apex court said since the special leave petition had become infructuous, Kingfisher could go back to the high court challenging the order of the panel.

The UBI yesterday became the first lender to declare debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines and its promoter Vijay Mallya as wilful defaulters.

Assailing the panel order, senior advocates Abhishek Singhvi and Parag Tripathi, appearing for Kingfisher, said the bank should have waited for the outcome of the appeal before the apex court as the airline was only seeking that its promoter and directors should be allowed to be represented by their counsel.

They said the petition was yesterday mentioned before the bench headed by Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, which declined to give urgent hearing and listed the matter for today.

The senior advocates said Kingfisher was making an attempt that they should be allowed to be represented by their advocate and the GRC order has wide and stark consequences as the company would face ostracism in the financial market.

However, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi opposed Kingfisher’s plea saying it had been for months seeking adjournments in the high court and had allegedly indulged in diverting funds without paying salary to its employees.

 
 
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