New Delhi, July 14, 2017: The Supreme Court on Friday deferred hearing on the quantum of punishment to be awarded to liquor baron Vijay Mallya in connection with the contempt of court case till the government produces him before it.
Noting the steps being taken by the central government for Mallya’s extradition, a bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit said: “The matter may be put up (before the court) on his (Mallya) production before the court.”
Following a brief hearing, the bench in its order said: “The contemnor (Mallya) failed to appear despite he being represented by counsel.
“Government of India has taken steps to secure his presence but Mallya is yet to be produced. Extradition proceedings are on and all steps are being taken by the government to produce him before the court.”
In May, the apex court had held Mallya guilty of contempt of court for disobeying its orders by not disclosing full particulars of his assets and also violating the orders of Karnataka High Court by transferring USD 40 million received from British firm Diageo PLC, in February 2016, and allegedly transferred the money to his children, instead of repaying the loans that he owes to the banks.
The court had also directed the Union Home Ministry to “secure and ensure” the presence of embattled businessman Vijay Mallya, who is currently in the United Kingdom, before it on July 10.
The absconding businessman was arrested by the Scotland Yard last month on fraud allegations, which triggered his extradition process in the British courts.
However, Mallya was released on bail as he assured the court to abide by all conditions associated with extradition proceedings, including surrendering his passport.
India had recently asked Britain to ensure early extradition of Mallya, who is an accused in a bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
The offence of contempt of court entails a maximum imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of upto Rs 2,000 or both.
The apex court’s order came on a plea by the consortium of banks, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), which had said that Mallya had not disclosed full particulars of his assets and violated various judicial orders.