The Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed the date for the final hearing on the quantum of punishment in the contempt case against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya. The court said that the final hearing will be held on January 18 next year. The Supreme Court said it cannot wait any longer in the contempt case against Mallya, who is an accused in the over Rs 9,000 crore bank loan default case involving its defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
A three-judge bench of Justices U U Lalit, S R Bhat and Bela M Trivedi said Mallya, who is currently in the UK, was convicted of contempt in 2017 and sought to hear his side on the sentence to be awarded. The matter was to be listed for The bench said the Supreme Court has “waited for a long time”.
The apex court had last year dismissed Vijay Mallya’s review petition, in which he had sought reconsideration of the court’s 2017 verdict. In this case, the court found him guilty of contempt for transferring USD 40 million to his children in violation of judicial orders. The Supreme Court said that according to an office memorandum placed before it, signed by the Deputy Secretary (Extradition) of the Ministry of External Affairs, the extradition proceedings in the UK are in the final stages and that “all opportunities for appeal” have been exhausted for Mallya. have gone.’
‘We can’t wait any longer’
The bench said that the office memorandum dated November 30 also referred to the proceedings pending in the UK, which were described as ‘confidential’ and hence no details were being disclosed. During the hearing, the bench said, ‘We want to do this, we will list this matter in the second week of January for disposal as we have waited for a long time, we cannot wait any longer. This matter has to be settled at some stage or the other and the process should come to an end.
The bench said that Mallya is free to present his arguments and if for any reason he cannot appear before the court, lawyers can present the arguments on his behalf. The bench said it will list the matter for disposal in January and at that time, if Mallya wants to participate in person, he will be here through extradition proceedings and if he does not, the bench will refer to his counsel. Will hear the arguments.
Was convicted of contempt in 2017
The bench said Mallya was convicted of contempt in 2017 but due to some proceedings which were going on in courts in the UK at that time, he could not be produced here despite the directions of the apex court. The Supreme Court requested senior advocate Jaideep Gupta to assist in the matter as amicus curiae. “The final hearing on the matter will be held on January 18, 2022,” the bench said.
The bench said that the office memorandum produced before it refers to certain proceedings which have been said to be confidential. The bench said that it appears that these are the same proceedings which were mentioned in the order of November last year. When the hearing on the matter began at 2 pm, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that they have just received a message from the Ministry of External Affairs. The letter was laid before the Bench which perused it.
What did the Supreme Court say?
When the matter was taken up for hearing before noon, the top court said it wanted to continue the hearing on the contempt case and listed the sentence for hearing. “We wish to pass an order that we will list the matter for hearing on sentencing as the counsel (of Mallya) continues to appear,” the bench said. Therefore, there is no bar on hearing the advocate on sentence. We will go ahead with it.
Advocate Rajat Nair, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is dealing with the matter, was arguing in another court. Nair told the court, “He (Mehta) has instructions. He has already spoken to the concerned officials in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). If the matter can be taken up tomorrow or the day after that, he will present the arguments.” The bench had then said that it would hear the matter at 2 pm.
The government gave this answer
On January 18 this year, the Center told the Supreme Court that the government was making all efforts to extradite Mallya from the UK but the process was getting delayed due to some legal issues in the case. Mehta had said that the Ministry of External Affairs has taken up the issue of extradition with the UK government and the Center is making all serious efforts to extradite Mallya.
Mallya has been in the UK since 2016
Mallya has been in the UK since March 2016. He is out on bail in an extradition warrant case served by Scotland Yard Police. The Supreme Court had on November 2 last year asked the Center to file a status report in six weeks on the confidential legal proceedings pending in the UK on Mallya’s extradition to India. The Center had told the Supreme Court on October 5 last year that Mallya cannot be extradited to India unless a separate “secret” legal process in the UK is resolved, which is judicial and confidential in nature. Is.”