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House panel seeks probe into K'fisher Airlines dues to AAI

House panel seeks probe into Kfisher Airlines dues to AAI
A parliamentary panel on 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 on Friday.

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.

Closed down airlines cause Rs. 6,769 crore loss to govt banks

Public sector banks have suffered a loss of Rs 6,769 crore due to default by shuttered airlines, the government said on Friday. Without giving specific details, Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar told the Lok Sabha that public sector banks make all efforts to recover the dues.

"Public sector banks have reported loss of Rs 6,769 crore as on December 31, 2016 on account of default by shut down/ closed airlines," he said in a written reply.

There are rising concerns over mounting bad loans in the banking system. Among others, lenders have been finding it hard to recover dues in the case of defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
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