The Supreme Court in India has adjourned a contempt case against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya to February 24 thereby granting him two weeks to appear before the SC in person or through counsel.
“If he fails to do so, the court will take the case to a logical conclusion,” the apex court said on Thursday.
A bench headed by Justice UU Lalit accepted the contentions of amicus curiae and senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, who was assisting the court in the matter, that on the issue of sentence Mallya should be given the last opportunity to make his stand in the case.
“In his (Gupta) submission matter may be adjourned for short time with an expression that this would be final opportunity and in case he choses to not remain personally present or advance submissions through counsel, court may proceed further with the matter. Going by submissions… we adjourn for 2 weeks. Respondent contemnor is at liberty to act in directions of November 30, 2021 order failing which matter shall be taken to logical conclusion and proceeded further,” the bench stated in its order.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta clarified that it is not the Government of India’s stand that something confidential is going on in the case in the United Kingdom but the Centre has been informed by the UK that there is something going on which can’t be shared.
Last year, the top court while saying that it has waited “long enough” and cannot “wait longer now” for Mallya to get extradited from the United Kingdom to India, decided to go ahead with the hearing on quantum of punishment in the contempt case against him. The top court had held Mallya guilty of contempt of court for transferring USD 40 million to his children in violation of the court’s order and sought his presence before it on various occasions.
Mallya is accused of a bank loan default case of over ₹9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines and is presently in the United Kingdom.
(With ANI inputs)