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Supreme Court directs Vijay Mallya to appear before it on October 5; rejects review petition

The top court also rejected his appeal seeking review of the 2017 ruling which held him guilty of contempt for transferring $40 million to his children's accounts in contravention of court orders

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | September 1, 2020 | Updated 09:52 IST
Supreme Court directs Vijay Mallya to appear before it on October 5; rejects review petition
Vijay Mallya, who is an accused in a bank loan default case of around Rs 9,000 crore involving his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is in the United Kingdom (UK)

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya to be present before it on October 5 at 2 pm, asking the home ministry to ensure his appearance in the courtroom that day.

The SC also rejected his appeal seeking review of the 2017 ruling, which held him guilty of contempt for transferring $40 million to his children's accounts in contravention of court orders.

Mallya, who is an accused in a bank loan default case of around Rs 9,000 crore involving his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is in the United Kingdom (UK).

A two-judge bench of justices, UU Lalit and Ashok Bhushan, while dismissing Mallya's review petitions against May 9, 2017, judgement said, "Now that the Review Petitions are dismissed, we direct respondent No.3 to appear before this Court on 05.10.2020 at 2:00 pm and also direct the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi to facilitate and ensure the presence of respondent No.3 before dis Court on that day. A copy of this judgement be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs for facility and compliance."

Also Read: Vijay Mallya says ready to settle Rs 14,518 crore liabilities with creditors

The top court had asked Mallya to appear on October 5 to hear him with regard to the proposed punishment in the contempt case.

The bench recorded in its order that $40 million, part of a $75 million payment, was received in the account of Mallya on February 25, 2016, and within a few days, on February 26 and February 29, 2016, it was transferred out of that account by Mallya.

Despite repeated orders passed by this Court, no clear disclosure of his assets was made by respondent No. 3, nor any details of in-flow and out-flow of the said amount of $40 million were disclosed by him. As a matter of fact, the existence of the concerned bank account itself was not disclosed, the top court said.

Mallya had contended that in terms of the directions issued by the top court, he was required to disclose his assets as of March 31, 2016, and as such, no direction issued by the court was violated.

He said that the violation, if any, was of the orders passed by the Karnataka High Court and, therefore, the top court ought not to proceed in contempt jurisdiction.

The bench said its order of January 11, 2017, had given liberty to Mallya to file a reply to the banks' response in the case and it appears from the record that a reply was filed by him on January 30, 2017; however, the May 9, 2017 verdict mentioned that no reply was filed.

From these facts it is clear that it was an error on part of this Court to have observed and proceeded on the premise that no reply was filed by respondent No.3 to the response filed by the banks, the bench said.

Also Read: Bad Boy Billionaires India: Netflix show looks into Mallya, Nirav Modi, Subrata Roy, Ramalinga Raju's transgressions

The bench said that during the hearing of the review plea it had asked Mallya's counsel whether in its January 30, 2017 reply, was there anything which contradicted or contested the banks' submission that funds were transferred despite the orders of the Debt Recovery Tribunal and Karnataka High Court.

It had asked whether any explanation was forthcoming in the reply of Mallya to support the stand that he was not guilty of a violation of said orders.

The bench said that his counsel was unable to refer to any such portion from the reply filed on January 30, 2017, but touched upon the questions whether the directions issued by the Court were violated and whether the court ought to have proceeded to exercise contempt jurisdiction.

The bench said the scope of the review was limited and that all submissions made by his counsel have already been dealt with and rejected by the court in its May 9, 2017 verdict.

The apex court had in June directed its registry to explain as to why Mallya's review petition had not been listed before the concerned court for the last three years.

It had directed the registry to furnish all the details including names of officials who had dealt with the file concerning the review petition over the last three years.

The apex court's 2017 order had come on a plea by a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI), which had said that Mallya had allegedly transferred $40 million received from British firm Diageo to his children in "flagrant violation" of various judicial orders.

Also Read: Vijay Mallya extradition: Liquor baron to be brought to Mumbai, will lodge in Arthur Road jail

It was dealing with pleas of lending banks seeking contempt action and a direction to Mallya to deposit $40 million received from offshore firm Diageo respectively.

The banks had then alleged that Mallya concealed the facts and diverted the money to his son Siddharth Mallya and daughters Leanna Mallya and Tanya Mallya in "flagrant violation" of the orders passed by the Karnataka High Court.

Mallya had in May lost his application seeking leave to appeal his extradition to India in the UK Supreme Court, setting a 28-day clock on his removal from the UK.

The UK top court's decision marks a big legal setback to the 64-year-old flamboyant businessman, who had earlier lost his high court appeal against an extradition order to India on charges of alleged fraud and money laundering related to unrecovered loans to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

Mallya has been based in the UK since March 2016 and remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed three years ago by Scotland Yard on April 18, 2017.

(With inputs from PTI)

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