It would be fair to say that business honcho and ex-Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda is too preoccupied these days to worry about where a couple of his aircraft are parked. But officials at Delhi airport aren't that sympathetic.
Top sources at the airport told this newspaper that the now defunct MDLR Airlines owned by Kanda has not paid the parking charges for two of its planes since December 2009. Several reminders have been sent and currently legal options are being explored for recovery.
Murli Dhar Lakh Ram (MDLR) Group ventured into Indian airspace for the first time on March 14, 2007. But in October 2009, the airline stopped all operations and since then two of its RJ70 aircraft have been lying at Delhi airport and no payments have been made towards the parking fee to the operator. "Since 2009 several reminders have been sent to MDLR to clear dues worth Rs 82 lakh, but the company has not displayed any interest. Aviation regulator DGCA has also been informed about the matter," said a top source at Delhi airport.
"We are exploring all the legal options and if required we will impound the aircraft as per laid down procedures for recovery of arrears," the source added.
However, Saptarshi Sanyal, spokesperson of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) - the consortium that manages the airport - remained tight-lipped on the matter. "No comments," was his response when contacted by MiD DAY. Gopal Kanda's personal assistant Devkant Sharma could not be reached for a reaction.
DIAL is likely to move court for retrieval of the sum unpaid and if that happens this would be the second such case in recent times.
The consortium earlier filed a case against beleaguered carrier Kingfisher after three cheques issued by the airline with a combined value of Rs 3 crore bounced.
On August 5, Kanda's former employee, 23-year-old Geetika Sharma hanged herself at her home in Delhi. In her suicide note, she said that Kanda and one of his senior executives, Aruna Chaddha, had been harassing her. A trial court on Saturday remanded the former minister in police custody for three days.
In 2011, Delhi police arrested Swarn Singh, a pilot working with the MDLR Airlines, in connection with the fake pilot scam. The charges against him were of procuring a commercial pilot licence by allegedly submitting bogus educational proof.