A special magistrate court here on Friday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant (NBW) against the Chairman of Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya, and four other directors for non-appearance in cases relating to bouncing of cheques issued in favour of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) towards user charges.

Four cheques totalling Rs.10.5 crore were issued since January this year to GHIAL, which operates Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here. But, they were dishonoured when presented for clearance following which legal notices were served on Kingfisher.

As the airline did not make the payment, GHIAL filed a case in the special court under the Negotiable Instruments Act in August. The court issued summons to Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya, chief executive officer Sanjay Agarwal, chief financial officer H. G. Raghunath and two others asking them to appear in the court on Friday but they did not.

The lawyer for the airline and the directors filed a petition under provisions of criminal procedure code to dispense with their personal attendance. However, the judge, L. Kedarachari, dismissed the petition and issued the NBW against the airline representative and five directors led by Mr. Mallya.

Kingfisher and GHIAL had entered into an agreement under which the former was collecting user development charges from passengers for parking, landing and navigation with regard to Hyderabad airport. The airline was supposed to remit the money to GMR but it did not.

When GMR demanded the unpaid user charges, Kingfisher issued cheques over a period of time since January, and those were dishonoured. Similar cases were said to be pending in Mumbai and New Delhi after the airport operators moved the court.

Mr. Mallya did not immediately face the threat of arrest as he could get the NBW recalled by appearing in the court before November 5 when the case is posted for next hearing or move the High Court for a temporary stay, sources said.

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