Will Mallya pay Kingfisher tax dues today?

Vijay Mallya's crippled Kingfisher Airlines is supposed to pay up at least Rs9 crore of the Rs60 crore it owes the taxman in service tax dues by the end of today. The authorities may once again freeze the carrier's accounts if it fails to do so, a Zee News report points out.

A section of the Kingfisher finally got paid on 4 April after a months' long wait, as the Central Board of Excise and Customs de-froze its accounts in February after flamboyant liquor baron Mallya paid up dues worth Rs20 crore.

Some 40 of Kingfisher's accounts were frozen by the service tax and income tax departments in November for non-payment of dues.

A strike by senior staff, including pilots, engineers and cabin crew, was averted earlier this week after Mallya met their representatives at his Altamount Road residence in Mumbai and reiterated his promise of clearing the dues of junior staff by 4 April and of the pilots and engineers by 10 April.

Earlier this week the tax authorities had asked Kingfisher Airlines to clear its Rs60 crore service tax dues by today.

"There is no question of leeway to Kingfisher on payment of service tax," Central Board of Excise and Customs chairman S K Goel had told reporters on Wednesday.

At the time of this report there was no indication of whether Mallya had cleared any part of these dues or sought to bargain for further time.