Bengaluru: A Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in Bengaluru hearing a lawsuit against Kingfisher Airlines Ltd will need to continue hearing the case beyond the deadline of 9 July set by the Supreme Court, two tribunal officials said.
Lenders led by State Bank of India (SBI) moved DRT in 2013 after UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines Ltd defaulted on loans. On 26 April, the SC directed the tribunal to dispose of the case within two months starting 9 May. Since then, the tribunal has been hearing the case on almost a daily basis.
According to one of the two officials quoted above, the DRT will have to write to SC seeking extension for a duration seen as appropriate by the DRT judge. However, the SC will decide the period of extension, the official added.
The tribunal has asked the legal counsel of the service tax department to place his arguments on 13 July, said the second official. Both officials declined to be identified since they are not authorised to speak to the media.
The service tax department, which is also a respondent in the case, will place its arguments on 13 July.
Kingfisher Airlines, which was grounded in 2012 on heavy losses, debt and unpaid salaries, now owes lenders more than Rs.9,000 crore in loan and interest. SBI has already concluded its final arguments in the original application (OA) while defendants Kingfisher Airlines, United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd, Mallya and Kingfisher Finvest Ltd, among others, will have to argue the matter before an order is passed.
The court has heard arguments on at least 11 of the over 27 interlocutory applications (IA) from all parties before hearing the OA, the first DRT official said. The rest of the IAs (supplementary applications to main application) will be heard along with the OA, according to legal counsels appearing in the case.
Though banks had moved DRT as early as 2013, the case gathered steam after UK-based spirits maker, Diageo Plc. in February agreed to pay $75 million to Mallya for stepping down from the post of chairman of United Spirits Ltd (USL).