The Supreme Court, on the 31st of August, dismissed review petition filed by former liquor baron Vijay Mallya challenging the order holding him guilty of contempt.
A bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ashok Bhushan said, “We find no merits in review petitions. Review petitions dismissed.”
He was found guilty by the apex court on May 9, 2017 for transferring USD 40 million received from Diageo into the accounts of his children.
Mallya owes over Rs 9,000 crore in form of unpaid loans towards consortium of banks led by SBI. The SBI had filed contempt petition against Mallya for not disclosing the bank accounts into which USD 40 million was transferred. Further, the Court found him guilty of siphoning off this amount which otherwise had to be deposited with the banks.
Mallya had filed review to consider an affidavit claiming this amount was not part of his assets. Further he claimed that he will lose his valuable right of appeal if held guilty by the Supreme Court.
When the case came up for hearing in June 2020, the top court had sought an explanation from its registry officials regarding the undue delay in listing the review petition.
When the matter was taken up on August 6, it was adjourned again since some crucial records pertaining to the case could not be located. Eventually the case was heard on August 27 and reserved for verdict.
At least 14 banks had moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal, Bengaluru, against Mallya seeking recovery of over Rs 6,300 crore owed to them in 2016 by Mallya’s companies. The banks had also prayed that Mallya’s passport should be frozen and he should be arrested.
However, the DRT failed to hear those prayers, prompting the banks to approach the Karnataka high court seeking appropriate directions to DRT for speedy disposal of the applications they moved.
The high court had declined to grant such a prayer and the banks then moved the Supreme Court.
Mallya had fled the country by then. The Supreme Court in its May 2017 order had asked the Centre to produce Mallya before the court to decide on the punishment to be handed down to him for contempt of court.
Stay tuned for further updates.