On Monday, the Supreme Court sentenced fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, who was found guilty of contempt of court in 2017, to four months in prison and a Rs 2,000 fine. A bench presided over by Justice U U Lalit also ordered him to return the US$ 40 million he had transferred to his children with 8% interest within four weeks, or attachment proceedings would be initiated against him.
On May 9, 2017, the Supreme Court found Mallya guilty of contempt on two counts: disobeying its order requiring him to fully disclose his assets and violating a Karnataka High Court order prohibiting him from alienating his assets. The court determined that he had failed to disclose the receipt of US$ 40 million in his account and its transfer to his children.
The court sentenced him on Monday, saying that having already found Mallya guilty of contempt, it must now impose adequate sentences on him in order to uphold the majesty of the law. It went on to say that he showed no remorse.
The Supreme Court’s 2017 decision was based on a petition filed by a consortium of banks, which is pursuing a case against him for failing to repay loans totaling thousands of crores of rupees obtained from them. In “flagrant violation” of various judicial orders, the consortium led by the State Bank of India (SBI) allegedly transferred US$ 40 million received from British firm Diageo to his children.
The banks asked the court to order Mallya to deposit the $40 million and to hold him in contempt of court. They claimed he diverted the funds to his son Siddharth Mallya and daughters Leanna and Tanya Mallya in “flagrant violation” of Karnataka High Court orders.
It denied Vijay Mallya’s request for a review of its May 2017 ruling finding him guilty of contempt of court and ordered him to appear before it on August 31, 2020, but he has yet to do so.
Mallya, who is charged in a bank loan default case involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, has been in the UK since March 2016 and is currently on bail on an extradition warrant issued by Scotland Yard on April 18, 2017.