UK started fresh secret proceedings against Mallya, Centre tells SC

By: |
October 6, 2020 2:30 AM

On August 31, the Supreme Court had ordered the industrialist to be present before it on October 5 in the case related to the contempt of court for transferring a $40-million payment from Diageo Plc to his three children.

It also directed the government (the Ministry of Home Affairs) “to facilitate and ensure” Mallya’s presence before it on October 5.It also directed the government (the Ministry of Home Affairs) “to facilitate and ensure” Mallya’s presence before it on October 5.

The government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that fresh “secret” proceedings against Vijay Mallya have started in the UK though the fugitive businessman has already lost his appeal from the island country’s highest court against his extradition to India.

The government told the Bench led by Justice UU Lalit that it is not aware of the exact nature of the ‘secret’ ongoing proceedings as it has neither been notified nor is a party to the proceedings, thus the extradition is getting delayed.
The Bench then asked Mallya’s counsel Ankur Saigal about the nature of the fresh proceedings, but the lawyer said that he had no instructions from his client regarding the same. The bench then objected to the lawyer’s response, saying “as his counsel, you must be completely aware. You cannot say you are not aware,”

The apex court then asked Saigal to give concrete response on November 2 about the nature of the fresh proceedings in UK, when those proceedings are likely to end and when Mallya will appear before the Supreme Court so that the matter of his sentence in contempt proceedings can be heard.

On August 31, the Supreme Court had ordered the industrialist to be present before it on October 5 in the case related to the contempt of court for transferring a $40-million payment from Diageo Plc to his three children. It also directed the government (the Ministry of Home Affairs) “to facilitate and ensure” Mallya’s presence before it on October 5.

The apex court had rejected the UB Group chairman’s petition seeking review of its 2017 order that held him guilty of contempt of court for transferring the $40-million payment did not find any “error apparent on record” to justify interference. It had on May 10, 2017, held Mallya guilty of contempt of court, and asked him to appear before the court on July 10 that year.

While the apex court had directed Mallya twice—in April and October 2016—to disclose all assets held by him and his family, Mallya had then claimed that banks had already recovered Rs 2,494 crore from defunct Kingfisher Airlines since 2013. The SC had questioned Mallya why he transferred the payout.

The contempt order was passed on a plea by the SBI-led consortium of banks seeking to recover Rs 9,000 crore owed by Mallya’s defunct carrier, which was grounded in 2012 amid mounting debt and losses. The lenders alleged that the industrialist had disobeyed court orders by making “vague and unclear disclosure of his assets” by transferring a $40-million payment from Diageo to his children who are US citizens and sole beneficiaries of three trusts and also ignoring summonses to appear in 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. In May, Mallya had lost his appeals in the UK Supreme Court against his extradition to India. Mallya had sought asylum on humanitarian grounds, particularly under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights. However, India has requested the UK government not to consider Mallya’s asylum request.

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