Contempt case: I can’t wait for Vijay Mallya “forever”, says SC


The Supreme Court said on Tuesday it could not wait “forever” for fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya and scheduled the sentencing hearing in a contempt case against him on Jan. 18.

“We have waited long enough for him to come. Enough … We cannot wait forever, ”Judge UU Lalit told the Center.

It has been more than four years since the Supreme Court found Mr Mallya, who fled to the UK, in contempt for willful disobedience to his order to disclose his assets and fail to disclose $ 40 million (600 crore) he received from UK Spirits Major Diageo Plc following his resignation as Chairman of United Spirits Limited in February 2016.

All these years, the court has waited for his personal appearance to hear and decide his sentence.

The Foreign Office, in a note shared with the court by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Tuesday, said Mallya’s extradition was “attainable.” He has exhausted all his remedies.

“Confidential” procedure

However, “confidential” procedures of an undisclosed nature blocked the extradition.

The court noted that the government invoked the same “confidential procedure” over a year ago to explain its inability to bring Mr. Mallya back to India. On October 5, the court had even asked Mr. Mallya’s camp to reveal the nature of the “confidential” proceedings underway after the rejection of his appeal against extradition by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

“Well, the process [of sentencing] must overcome one day, ”Judge Lalit observed on Tuesday, flanked by Judges S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi.

The court said Mr Mallya, if he is back in India, was free to comment during the sentencing hearing on January 18. If he is not available for “some reason”, his lawyer could do so on his behalf.

The court appointed lead lawyer Jaideep Gupta as amicus curiae in the case.

“The case will be definitively settled on January 18,” observed Judge Lalit.

During the session before lunch, the court had indicated that the absence of Mr. Mallya would not prevent him from hearing the sentence since he was legally represented in the case.

The court found Mallya in contempt of court on May 9, 2017.

On August 30, 2020, he dismissed his petition for review against the 2017 contempt verdict. The court found no basis in his three-year-old review appeal against his conviction.

“One of thousands of transactions”

In his initial arguments to the Supreme Court in 2017, Mr Mallya informed the court that the $ 40 million was part of the “thousands of transactions” he had made and could not be counted as an asset. He said he had no control over this money now, as he had already paid it to his three adult children, US citizens.

Contradicting the allegations of a banking consortium led by the SBI which had filed against him the recourse for contempt of court, Mr. Mallya had indicated that he had already given a complete list of assets as of March 31, 2016. The court had ordered Mr. Mallya provide banks with a list of its assets so that they can recover 9,200 crore owed to them.

The banks had sued for contempt on the grounds that the payment of the 40 million dollars to his three children was in direct violation of a permanent order of the High Court of Karnataka that none of his assets should be “alienated, ceded. or subject to the creation of a third party rights “.


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