Cheque bounce case: Kingfisher ex-CFO gets 18 months jail

A Hyderabad court on Thursday sentenced A Raghunathan, the former chief financial officer of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd who is said to be a close aide of the airline's beleaguered promoter Vijay Mallya, to 18 months imprisonment in connection with two cheque bouncing cases.

The Third Special Magistrate Court at Erram Manzil also imposed a penalty of Rs20,000 on Raghunathan, who has been named accused No 3 (A-3) in the case.

Raghunathan paid the penalty amount in the court. He also filed a petition seeking suspension of the sentence for a period of 30 days, pleading that he was only an employee of the company who acted according to the instructions of the chairman. Magistrate Justice M Krishna Rao referred the petition to the Nampally Criminal Courts in the city.

The case pertains to bouncing of two cheques of Rs50 lakh each issued by Kingfisher Airlines Ltd to GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), which operates Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, towards charges for using the facilities at the airport for Kingfisher Airlines flights. The case was filed under the Negotiable Instruments Act.

According to the GMR counsel, a total of 17 cases have been filed against Kingfisher Airlines in different courts over an outstanding amount of Rs 22.5 crore, which it owes to GMR.

The court had earlier issued non-bailable warrants against Kingfisher Airlines, its chairman Mallya and Raghunathan on the ground of dishonouring the two cheques.

Counsel for the GHIAL Ashok Reddy also submitted a petition to the court seeking a direction to the Kingfisher Airlines to provide fresh addresses of the airlines and Mallya.