September 3, 2014 1:28:49 am
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a petition by the debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) to restrain United Bank of India (UBI) from declaring the carrier’s chairman Vijay Mallya and three other directors as “wilful defaulters”.
A bench of Justices Anil R Dave and UU Lalit told KFA’s counsel that such a plea could not admitted since UBI’s Grievance Redressal Committee has already made the declaration amid a loan recovery effort by lenders.
“Now that you have already been declared a willful defaulter, you challenge it in a high court or at any other appropriate forum. Your main grievance in the petition is that the Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) should not decide the matter but they have already done it now. Your plea is infructuous”, the bench said.
The carrier alleged that the order by GRC was passed a day ago, ignoring the plea that Mallya and the directors should be allowed to be represented through lawyers. The counsel claimed they were denied a right of fair representation in violation of the principles of natural justice.
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The bench, however, remained unimpressed and asked KFA to take its challenge to the Calcutta High Court where the matter remained pending.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the UBI, argued that the airline diverted funds and has not even paid its workers.
State-owned UBI had on Monday declared Mallya, and three other directors of the carrier — Ravi Nedungadi, Anil Kumar Ganguly and Subash Gupte -as defaulters.
The move puts severe restriction on Mallya and his companies from seeking future loans, besides other predicaments that include criminal proceedings and attachment orders.
The GRC meeting was convened on Monday after the Calcutta High Court allowed the bank to initiate the process of declaring them as wilful defaulters last week.
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