Hold talks with Kingfisher lawyer over default, HC tells PNB

The Delhi High Court said on Wednesday that Punjab National Bank (PNB) should hold talks with the failed Kingfisher Airlines, which could be represented by a lawyer. The date of the meeting will be fixed by the court to decide the dispute over wilful a defaulter notice issued by PNB to Kingfisher.

Appearing for Kingfisher, senior advocate Rajiv Nayar argued that Kingfisher had been refused legal representation by PNB during an earlier hearing.

But the counsel for PNB argued that Kingfisher, through its chief financial officer A Raghunathan, had already filed a detailed reply to its notice and these were just ''delaying tactics'' by the company that owed it more than Rs800 crore.

He also informed the court that a high-powered committee of the bank, headed by an executive director and having two general managers of the bank as members, had identified Kingfisher as a wilful defaulter on 30 July 2013.

The hearing will continue today.

The court also noted that according to the existing law, a copy of any document relied upon by the PNB to decide the issue of wilful default by Kingfisher must also be given to Kingfisher. However, no order has been passed, as the arguments in the case are still not complete.

On Tuesday, the debt-ridden grounded Kingfisher Airlines had approached the high court against a 21 August notice from PNB which alleged that Kingfisher had wilfully defaulted on Rs770 crore of loans.

PNB had said that if it did not receive a reply within seven days, Kingfisher, as well as its guarantors United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd and Vijay Mallya, would be declared wilful defaulters. Kingfisher has also dragged the ministry of finance to the high court.