30 Nov 2021 9:11 AM GMT
Expressing a clear intention to go ahead with the sentence hearing in the contempt case against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, the Supreme Court on Tuesday posted the matter for hearing on January 18, 2022.The Court stated that even if Mallya - who is now in United Kingdom from where the India Government is trying to extradite him- is not present before the Court on that day for any...
Expressing a clear intention to go ahead with the sentence hearing in the contempt case against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, the Supreme Court on Tuesday posted the matter for hearing on January 18, 2022.
The Court stated that even if Mallya - who is now in United Kingdom from where the India Government is trying to extradite him- is not present before the Court on that day for any reason, it will hear the counsel on his behalf. The Court also appointed Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta as an amicus curiae to assist it in the matter. On an earlier occasion, the Court had rejected the request made by Advocate EC Agarwala seeking his discharge as Mallya's counsel in the case.
A Bench comprising Justice UU Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela Trivedi was hearing a matter where the Court had found businessman Vijay Mallya guilty of contempt in 2017 for disobeying court's orders in not disclosing full particulars of the assets in a case between the State Bank of India and Kingfisher Airlines.
When the matter was called out for hearing in the first half, the Bench had observed that it proposes to pass an order listing the matter for hearing on sentence for contempt.
"Since the advocate continues to appear, so therefore there's no embargo on hearing the advocate on sentence. We'll go ahead with that." Justice UU Lalit said.
At 2 PM, a statement of the Ministry of External Affairs was furnished to the bench. After going through the document, Justice Lalit said:
"What we wish to do is, we will list this matter for disposal in January. We've waited sufficiently long enough & we cannot wait longer now. This has to see light of the day & process has to get over. We'll list this matter in the 2nd week Jan. At that juncture if this person wants to take part personally he will be here through extradition proceedings. If he isn't present, his lawyer will be here."
In the statement, the Deputy Secretary (Extradition) Ministry of External Affairs stated that the proceedings for extradition have attained finality and Vijay Mallya has exhausted all avenues of appeal in United Kingdom .However, Para 3 & 4 of the statement deal with certain proceedings which are stated to be confidential and no details are being disclosed, the bench noted in the order.
The Court had directed Government of India to secure and ensure presence before the court.
In October last year, the Centre had informed the Supreme Court that "secret" extradition process was going on to bring fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya to the country but it was not aware about its status.The Centre had also told the top court that it was not a party to the proceedings.
A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Ashok Bhushan had asked Mallya's lawyer to inform the court what kind of "secret" proceedings are going on to extradite him.
The bench also directed Mallya's lawyers to apprise it by November 2 when can the fugitive businessman appear before the court and when the "secret" proceedings are going to end.
The apex court had earlier directed Mallya to appear before it on October 5 while dismissing his plea seeking review of the 2017 verdict which held him guilty of contempt for transferring USD 40 million to his children in violations of court orders.
Mallya, an accused in bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is in the United Kingdom.
The apex court's 2017 order had come on a plea by consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI), which had said that Mallya had allegedly transferred USD 40 million received from British firm Diageo, to his children in "flagrant violation" of various judicial orders.
It was dealing with pleas of lending banks seeking contempt action and a direction to Mallya to deposit USD 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 last year lost his application seeking leave to appeal his extradition to India in the UK Supreme Court.
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.
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