Hyderabad: Former chief financial officer (CFO) of the grounded airline Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, A. Raghunathan, was on Thursday sentenced to 18-month imprisonment by a court here in connection with two cheque bounce cases filed against him and businessman Vijay Mallya by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd.
Third special court magistrate M. Krishna Rao also imposed Rs.20,000 fine in each case on Raghunathan after the latter appeared before the court.
Earlier, on several occasions, the order on quantum of punishment had got adjourned as the warrant issued against Raghunathan was still pending.
The court had on 20 April convicted Kingfisher Airlines, Mallya and Raghunathan, in connection with two cheque bounce cases involving Rs50 lakh each, under relevant sections of the Negotiable Instruments Act.
The matter relates to cheques 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.
During arguments Thursday, GHIAL counsel G. Ashok Reddy submitted that it was after five months that Raghunathan had finally appeared before this court. He further informed that Vijay Mallya is absconding and is out of the country, and sought a court direction to proceed with sentence order against Raghunathan.
The magistrate told Raghunathan that he has been found guilty under relevant sections of Negotiable Instruments Act. Raghunathan submitted before the court “I was only an employee of United Spirits Limited. I was on rolls of United Spirits. My services seconded to Kingfisher Airlines Limited. I was always an employee of United Spirits and retired in July 2013.”
The magistrate, in his order, sentenced Raghunathan to undergo one year and six months imprisonment and also imposed a fine of Rs.20,000 in each case.
The magistrate further said Raghunathan can file appeal against the judgement of this court in the case after which his counsel moved a petition and the court allowed the plea suspending its order till 19 October enabling Raghunathan to go for an appeal and asked him to furnish two sureties of K10,000 each towards bails bonds.