The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a petition filed by fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya seeking review of a 2017 order that held him guilty of contempt, The Hindu reported.
In the May 2017 verdict, the Supreme Court held Mallya guilty of contempt of court for transferring $40 million (approximately Rs 295 crore) to his children in violation of a court’s order. The amount was given to him by British liquor company Diageo Plc after he resigned as the chairperson of United Spirits Limited in February 2016.
During an earlier hearing in the case, the court had pulled up its registry for not listing the review petition for three years and sought an explanation. The hearing was adjourned after the court could not find a crucial reply in case records filed by Mallya, Bar and Bench reported.
In the original arguments, Mallya had argued that the $40 million was among “thousands of transactions” he carried out and that it could not be counted as an asset. A consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India, which had filed the case against the businessman, argued that disbursal of the money to his children Siddharth Mallya, Leanna Mallya and Tanya Mallya was in direct violation of a Karnataka High Court order.
Mallya, however, said that he had already handed over a complete list of his assets as of March 31, 2016. The court had directed the businessman to provide the banks with the list so that they can recover Rs 9,200 crore he owed.
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.
In February 2017, India had submitted an extradition request to the United Kingdom 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 has been willing to accept the offer. He also claimed that the allegations against him were related to borrowing only Rs 900 crore.