The top court had held Mallya guilty of contempt of court for transferring USD 40 million to his children. (Photo: PTI/File)
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing for next week of the contempt case against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya who was found guilty in a contempt case for withholding information from the court.
The matter was listed before the bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha.
The top court had held Mallya guilty of contempt of court for transferring USD 40 million to his children in violation of the court's order and sought his presence before it on various occasions.
On February 10, the Supreme Court granted the last opportunity of two weeks to Mallya to personally present or through counsel in the contempt case against him and if he fails to do so the court will take the matter to a logical conclusion.
The apex court had accepted the contentions of amicus curiae and senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, who was assisting the court in the matter, that on the issue of quantum of sentence Mallya is given the last opportunity to make his stand in the case.
"In his (Gupta) submission matter may be adjourned for a short time with an expression that this would be a final opportunity and in case he chooses to not remain personally present or advance submissions through counsel, the court may proceed further with the matter. Going by submissions... we adjourn for two weeks. Respondent contemnor is at liberty to act in directions of November 30, 2021 order failing which matter shall be taken to logical conclusion and proceeded further," the bench had stated in its order.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had clarified that it's not the government of India's stand that something confidential is going on in the case in the United Kingdom but it is what government has been informed by the UK that there is something going on which can't be shared.
Last year, the top court while saying that it has waited "long enough" and cannot "wait longer now" for Mallya to get extradited from the United Kingdom to India, decided to go ahead with the hearing on quantum of punishment in the contempt case against him.
Earlier, Solicitor General appearing for Ministry of External Affairs had furnished a document of Deputy Secretary (Extradition) Ministry of External Affairs, to which the bench had said the proceedings for extradition of Mallya to India from the United Kingdom has attained finality but certain "confidential proceedings" are pending in the UK, details of which are not known.
Centre had also said that Mallya has already exhausted all his avenues of appeal in UK.
On the previous occasion, the Centre had informed the top court that legal complexities in the United Kingdom are preventing the extradition of fugitive Mallya, but the government of India is making all efforts and doing its best to extradite him.
The Centre had further said that extradition of Mallya was ordered by the highest court of the United Kingdom but it has not been put into effect. The government had said it's not aware of the "secret' ongoing proceedings in the UK which is delaying Mallya's extradition.
The apex court had dismissed a plea filed by Mallya seeking a review of its May 2017 order holding him guilty of contempt.
Mallya is an accused in a bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines and is presently in the United Kingdom.
The Supreme Court had issued its May 9, 2017, order on a plea by a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI), claiming he had allegedly transferred USD 40 million received from British firm Diageo to his children in "flagrant violation" of various judicial orders.
Earlier, the apex court had asked Mallya about the "truthfulness" of his disclosure of assets and the transfer of money to his children.
At that time, the top court 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 to the banks respectively.
The banks had then accused Mallya of concealing 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.