Kingfisher, Mallya win HC stay against 'wilful defaulter' tag

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd has secured a stay from the Calcutta High Court against it and its promoter Vijay Mallya being declared a 'wilful defaulter' by United Bank of India (UBI).

The grievance redressal committee of the UBI had earlier declared the now-grounded airline's chairman Vijay Mallya and its directors (including erstwhile directors) as wilful defaulters.

The court directed the bank to file its affidavit-in-opposition by 3 November, while the airline will file its reply one week after that. The next date of hearing has been fixed for 10 November.

"We had earlier stated that we would legally challenge the wrongful decision of United Bank of India and that we have great faith in the judiciary in our Country. We will legally defend our position on all allegations going forward," a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said.

 In September, UBI declared Kingfisher Airlines and its chairman Vijay Mallya wilful defaulters for non-payment of Rs400 crore of dues. Three company directors - Subhash R Gupte, Ravi Nedungadi and Anil Kumar Ganguly - were also named as such.

Kingfisher Airlines along with its directors / erstwhile directors had filed a writ petition in the Calcutta High Court against the bank's decision.

The matter was heard on Friday and Justice Debangsu Basak held that, prima facie, UBI acted in breach of the principles of natural justice by not making over the documents referred to and relied upon by it to Kingfisher prior to the hearing, and thus, not enabling airline to make an effective representation against the charges, the airline spokesperson added.