HC summons Mallya over Kingfisher wind-up pleas

Vijay MallyaThe Karnataka High Court yesterday ordered that liquor baron Vijay Mallya, chairman of the United Breweries (UB) Group, must appear before the judge on Tuesday in connection with a bunch of winding-up petitions filed by creditors who are trying to get back close to Rs600 crore from his company.

The issues have arisen because Mallya's attempt to spread his wings in the aviation sector with Kingfisher Airlines proved disastrous.

United Breweries Holding Ltd, the holding company of the UB Group, is contesting in court six winding-up petitions filed by aircraft lessors and financiers of Kingfisher Airlines, which the court had admitted last year.

Justice Ram Mohan Reddy asked Mallya to appear in court and bring along his passport.

Companies including BNP Paribas, which are creditors to Kingfisher, had filed company petitions in the high court seeking the winding-up of UBHL, as the company was unable to pay its debts.

The creditors are trying to get back close to Rs600 crore, and had almost stalled the share sale of UBHL's holdings in United Spirits to global spirits major Diageo. However, the court had then allowed UBHL to go ahead with the share sale on submission of Rs250 crore as guarantees.

Mallya last week had expressed the hope of reaching out-of-court settlements with two of the petitioners, and added that the company had serious counter-claims against three of the other petitioners.