Employees of Kingfisher Airlines have sought to file a First Information Report (FIR) against Chairman MD Dr Vijay Mallya for not being paid salaries for 17 months. The employees in Delhi have on Monday spearheaded an indefinite hunger strike in the Capital and have called on colleagues nationwide to join in the protests with their families at Jantar Mantar.
The employees of the grounded carrier, reeling under debt of over Rs 6000 crore, said they have written to the commissioner of Delhi Police seeking action against Dr Mallya on grounds of abetment to Suicide, Exploitation, Fraud and Breach of Trust. Employees in other parts of the country have been asked to follow suit in their locations.
While a source in the police department said the case for an FIR remains thin, the Delhi Police has not officially responded to the employees. The wife of a Kingfisher employee had committed suicide last year citing financial stress after her husband was not paid salaries for months, even before the airline was grounded in October last year.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation had cancelled the Airline's License to Fly when engineers did not Certify Airworthiness post safety checks, in protest for nonpayment of dues. Mallya now has a two-year window to renew the licence and has been repeatedly insisting that a potential suitor is keen on investing in the Airline.
However, no claims have borne fruit yet. While Dr Mallya had initially lashed out at employees saying they were free to leave the airline if they wish to do so, he has now asked them to be patient and support him in the revival of the “best” airline in the country.
From sporting black armbands during operations to threats of hunger strikes, camps in Kingfisher House to UB Tower and protests outside Mallya’s other events like the IPL, Employees have not left any stone unturned in highlighting their issue before their Management. However, employees at Jantar Mantar said the Kingfisher Airlines Management had not responded to their emails intimating the company about the indefinite Hunger Strike on Monday.
The management has not shown us any support or responded to our notice of a Hunger Strike. We have also written to the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Delhi Police Commissioner. We are waiting to file an FIR against Mallya on charges of abetment to suicide and false promises made to us,” an employee at Jantar Mantar protest said. “Employees posted in other countries are being paid due to strict salary payment regulations there but unfortunately in India, we have none and hence we have resorted to an indefinite hunger strike.”
Not just the employees, creditors too have taken the company to various Indian courts to recover their loans. A consortium of banks led by State Bank of India are fighting for dues of over Rs 7000 crore from the company. Not just banks, Kingfisher Airlines also owes about Rs 400 crore to the Airports Authority of India, in addition to defaulting on service tax payment.