The Supreme Court is likely to consider on Monday the reports, including the one filed by the recovery officer of Debt Recovery Tribunal at Bengaluru that neither Vijay Mallya, who was sentenced to four months in jail for contempt, nor any other beneficiaries of fund transfer have deposited any amount with him till August 18. A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat will also peruse the reports of the central government in the case filed by a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India in 2016 against Mallya and others. The top court had on July 11 sentenced Mallya to four months in jail for contempt of court and directed him and the beneficiaries under the said transactions relating to USD 40 million to deposit the amount received along with interest at the rate of 8 per cent per annum with the recovery officer concerned within four weeks. The bench had also asked the Centre to secure the presence of the fugitive businessman, who has been in the United Kingdom (UK) since 2016, to undergo imprisonment.
The apex court, on March 10, had reserved its order on the punishment in the contempt case against Mallya, saying the proceedings against him have hit a dead wall. The top court had heard senior advocate and amicus curiae Jaideep Gupta on various aspects related to the contempt law and the punishment, and had granted one last opportunity to lawyer Ankur Saigal, counsel for Mallya, to file his written submissions on the sentencing aspect.
Mallya’s counsel had said he was handicapped in the absence of any instruction from his client, who is in the UK, and would not be able to argue on the quantum of sentence to be awarded in the contempt case. Earlier, a consortium of lending banks led by State Bank of India had moved the apex court alleging that Mallya was not following the court orders on repayment of loan which was then over Rs 9,000 crore.
It was alleged that he was not disclosing the assets and moreover, transferring them to his children in violation of the restraint orders. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had said the court has inherent jurisdiction in contempt cases and that it has given enough opportunity to Mallya, which he has not taken.
On November 30 last year, the top court had said it could not wait any longer and the sentencing aspect in the contempt matter against Mallya would be dealt with finally. Mallya was held guilty of contempt in 2017, and the matter was thereafter to be listed to hear him on the proposed punishment to be awarded to him.
The top court had in 2020 dismissed Mallya’s plea seeking review of the 2017 verdict which held him guilty of contempt for transferring USD 40 million to his children in violation of court orders. The apex court had noted that as per an office memorandum, under the signature of the deputy secretary (extradition) of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the proceedings for extradition have attained finality and Mallya has exhausted all avenues for appeal in the UK.
Mallya has been in the UK since March 2016. He is on bail on an extradition warrant executed three years ago by the Scotland Yard on April 18, 2017.
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