The Supreme Court today said it had waited “sufficiently long enough” and the contempt case against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya had to end “at some point”. The Indian government has been trying to get the businessman extradited from the United Kingdom for some years now.
The Supreme Court bench hearing his case has set 18 January 2022 as the date to hear arguments on the quantum of punishment. It said Mallya would be at liberty to appear or his lawyer could advance submissions on his behalf.
Mallya was adjudicated guilty of contempt of court in 2017 for failing to disclose the transfer of $ 40 million to his children’s accounts and for ignoring a summons to appear in court. The Supreme Court had in August 2020 dismissed his review petition in the case.
The court today set 22 January for final hearing on quantum of sentence in the matter.
“We have waited sufficiently long enough. This has to see the light of day at some point (referring to the multiple adjournments in this case since 2017). We will list the case in January 2022. At that juncture, if he (Vijay Mallya) wants to take part, then he will take part through extradition proceedings. Otherwise, his lawyer will be here,” the Supreme Court said today.
The Ministry of External Affairs informed the top court that Vijay Mallya’s extradition proceedings have achieved finality. The businessman is wanted in India in a bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
The fugitive businessman has exhausted all avenues of appeal in the UK, said the ministry. “But certain proceedings which are confidential and whose details are not being disclosed are still going on,” it said.
The 2017 verdict had come on a plea by a consortium of creditors led by State Bank of India (SBI) which argued that Vijay Mallya had disobeyed court orders by making “vague and unclear disclosure of his assets” by transferring a $ 40 million payment from Diageo Plc. to his children and by ignoring summons to appear in court.