In an order uploaded on the Supreme Court’s website on Friday (June 19), a bench directed its registry to explain why businessman Vijay Mallya’s petition on review of its 2017 order holding him guilty of contempt of court for for transferring US$40 million to his children, was not listed before the concerned court for the last three years.
A bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ashok Bhushan, which took up Vijay Mallya’s review petition in-chamber on June 16, directed the top court registry to furnish all the details including names of officials who had dealt with the file concerning the review petition for the last three years.
“According to the record, placed before us, the review petition was not listed before the court for the last three years. Before we deal with the submissions raised in the review petition, we direct the registry to explain why the review petition was not listed before the concerned court for the last three years,” the bench said in its June 16 order.
Taking strong note of the undue delay in listing the review petition, the bench asked the registry to furnish explanation within two weeks.
“The review petition shall, thereafter, be considered on merits,” the bench said in its order, adding, “As per office report on limitation the review petition was filed in time.”
Vijay Mallya had filed the petition seeking review of the top court’s May 9, 2017 order by which he was held guilty of contempt of court for transferring US$40 million to his children in violation of the court’s order.
Vijay Mallya, who is an accused in a bank loan default case of over ₹9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is presently in the United Kingdom.
The Supreme 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 Vijay Mallya had allegedly transferred US$40 million received from British firm Diageo, to his children in “flagrant violation” of various judicial orders.
The top court had earlier asked Vijay Mallya about the “truthfulness” of his disclosure of assets and the transfer of money to his children.
It was dealing with pleas of lending banks seeking contempt action and a direction to Vijay Mallya to deposit US$40 million received from offshore firm Diageo respectively.
The banks had then alleged that Vijay 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.
Prior to that, the Supreme Court had pulled up Vijay Mallya for not making full disclosure of his overseas properties and had asked him to do so within a month.
Vijay Mallya had last month lost his application seeking leave to appeal his extradition to India in the UK Supreme Court, setting a 28-day clock on his removal from the UK.
The UK top court’s decision marks a big legal setback to the 64-year-old businessman, who had earlier lost his high court appeal against an extradition order to India on charges of alleged fraud and money laundering related to unrecovered loans to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Vijay 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.
(With inputs from agencies)