The Supreme Court has sought an explanation from its registry for not listing a review petition filed by fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya for three years, Live Law reported on Friday.
Mallya had filed the petition seeking review of an order passed by the top court on May 9, 2017, which held him guilty of contempt of court for transferring $40 million to his children in violation of the court’s order. Mallya, who is fighting his extradition to India, faces fraud and money laundering charges resulting from the collapse of his defunct company Kingfisher Airlines. The businessman, who fled India and moved to London in March 2016, owes Indian banks more than Rs 9,000 crore.
A bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ashok Bhushan on June 16, directed the registry to furnish all the details pertaining to the case, including names of officials who had dealt with the file concerning the review petition for the last three years. The explanation has to be submitted within two weeks.
“The review petition shall, thereafter, be considered on merits,” the bench said, according to NDTV. “As per office report on limitation the review petition was filed in time.”
The bench further observed, “don’t demoralise the registry which is working day and night”.
India submitted an extradition request to the United Kingdom in February 2017 after Mallya made it clear he would not return. In July, the United Kingdom High Court allowed him to challenge his extradition order.
Mallya has repeatedly denied the charges against him and offered to pay back 100% of the amount borrowed by Kingfisher Airlines, but neither the banks nor the Enforcement Directorate have been willing to accept the offer. He also claimed that the allegations against him were related to borrowing only Rs 900 crore.
In 2018, the High Court in London had rejected Mallya’s argument that the case was motivated by political considerations, that he would not receive a fair trial in India and that extradition would infringe on his human rights.
In January, a court in Mumbai allowed the banks to utilise Mallya’s movable assets to recover the money they are owed. On January 6, the Supreme Court said Mallya cannot cite the pendency of his plea in the top court to delay insolvency proceedings in courts “anywhere else in the world”.