A parliamentary panel Friday sought a probe into defunct Kingfisher Airlines allowed to accumulate high levels of dues to state-owned AAI, which was in “violation of all existing rules”.
Bogged down by financial woes, Kingfisher Airlines was closed down in 2012. The carrier was promoted by businessman Vijay Mallya, who is wanted by Indian authorities for loan default and other cases. At the end of December 2016, the airline owed dues worth Rs 294.69 crore to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the amount has been written off. The national airports operator has also filed a legal suit against the carrier to recover the dues.
Pulling up the AAI, the panel said it allowed the accumulation of dues to such a high level in violation of all the existing rules and procedures in practice. Besides, the committee has recommended that AAI may conduct an internal inquiry to “fix the responsibility of AAI officials for the accumulation of dues by Kingfisher Airlines”.
The recommendation has been made by the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture in its report tabled in Parliament today. The report is on the Demand for Grants (2017-18) of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Emphasising that the AAI should be cautious in future to ensure that “no individual stakeholder/ airlines is accumulating such high levels of dues,” the panel has called for strengthening of the system and procedures to prevent recurrence of such instances.
The committee also said “it may be intimated about the outcome of the internal inquiry”. At the end of December 2016, outstanding dues to AAI from various entities, including airlines, stood at Rs 4,579.57 crore.