The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce, on July 11, its order on the quantum of sentence against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, accused in a bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, in a contempt case where he has been found guilty.
As per the cause list of July 11 uploaded on the apex court website, a bench headed by Justice U U Lalit would pronounce the order. The bench, also comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and P S Narasimha, had on March 10 reserved its order in the matter observing that proceedings against Mallya have hit a "dead wall".
The apex court had heard senior advocate and amicus curiae Jaideep Gupta on various aspects related to the contempt law and even decided to permit the counsel, who was earlier representing Mallya, to file written submissions, if any, in the case by March 15.
Mallya's counsel had, on March 10, told the bench that he was handicapped in the absence of any instruction from his client, who is in the United Kingdom, and would not be able to argue on the quantum of sentence to be awarded in the contempt case. "We have been told that there are some proceedings going on in the United Kingdom. It is like a dead wall, something is pending we do not know. What is the number (of cases) we do not know? The point is how long can we go on like this so far as our jurisdictional power is concerned," the top court had orally observed.
Observing that it had waited "sufficiently long", the apex court on February 10 had fixed the contempt case against Mallya for hearing and had given him the last opportunity to appear before it either personally or through his lawyer. The top court had said it has given multiple opportunities to Mallya to appear either personally or through a lawyer and had even given specific directions in its order dated November 30, 2021.
Earlier, a consortium of lending banks led by the State Bank of India had moved the apex court alleging that Mallya was not following the court orders on repayment of the 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 earlier said that 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 said it cannot 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 a 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 by Scotland Yard on April 18, 2017.