The Supreme Court is expected to issue an order today on the quantum of sentence for fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, who has been found guilty of contempt in a bank loan default case involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
According to the July 11 cause list posted on the Supreme Court website, the order will be issued by a bench led by Justice U U Lalit. On March 10, Justices Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and PS Narasimha reserved their decision on the sentence.
In February, the Supreme Court gave Mallya two weeks to personally present or through counsel in the contempt case against him, and if he does not, the court will take the matter to its logical conclusion.
The Supreme Court accepted the arguments of amicus curiae and senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, who was assisting the court in the matter, that on the issue of sentence quantum, Mallya is given the final opportunity to make his case.
“In his (Gupta’s) submission, the matter should be adjourned for a short time with the stipulation that this is the final opportunity and that if he does not remain personally present or advance submissions through counsel, the court should proceed with the matter.
We adjourn for two weeks based on submissions. Respondent contemnor is free to act in accordance with the November 30, 2021 order, failing which the matter will be brought to a logical conclusion and pursued further “According to the bench’s order.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta clarified during the hearing that it is not the government of India’s position that something confidential is going on in the case in the United Kingdom, but that the government has been informed by the UK that there is something going on that cannot be shared.
While stating that it has waited “long enough” and cannot “wait any longer now” for Mallya to be extradited from the United Kingdom to India, the Supreme Court decided to proceed with the hearing on the quantum of punishment in the contempt case against him in 2021.
Earlier, the Solicitor General appeared for the Ministry of External Affairs and presented a document from the Deputy Secretary (Extradition) Ministry of External Affairs, according to which the bench stated that the proceedings for extradition of Mallya to India from the United Kingdom have reached a conclusion, but certain “confidential proceedings” in the UK are still ongoing, the details of which are unknown.
The Centre also stated that Mallya had exhausted all of his legal options in the United Kingdom.
The Supreme Court issued its order on May 9, 2017, in response to a petition filed by a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) alleging that he had allegedly transferred $40 million received from the British firm Diageo to his children in “flagrant violation” of various judicial orders.