NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court adjourned till Thursday hearing on a plea related to the appearance of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, accused in bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, in a contempt case where he has been found guilty.
A bench comprising justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha on Wednesday posted the contempt case for hearing at 2 PM on Thursday after senior advocate and amicus curiae Jaideep Gupta sought adjournment on grounds that he would be busy arguing another case.
The top court, on February 10, had fixed the contempt case against Mallya for hearing on Wednesday and had given the fugitive businessman the last opportunity to appear before it either personally or through his lawyer.
The bench had said it has given multiple opportunities to Mallya to appear either personally or through a lawyer and had even given specific directions in its last order dated November 30, 2021. Amicus curiae Gupta had said the court has found the contemnor guilty of contempt of court, and punishment has to be imposed.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had said the court has inherent jurisdiction in contempt cases and that it has given enough opportunity to Mallya, which he has not taken. On November 30 last year, the top court had said it cannot wait any longer and the sentencing aspect in the contempt matter against Mallya would be dealt with finally.
Noting that Mallya, who is presently in the United Kingdom, was held guilty of contempt in 2017, and the matter was thereafter to be listed to hear him on the proposed punishment to be awarded to him, it had said that the apex court has waited "sufficiently long".
The top court had in 2020 dismissed Mallya's plea seeking a review of its 2017 verdict which held him guilty of contempt for transferring USD 40 million (one million is equal to Rs 10 lakhs) to his children in violation of court orders.
The apex court had noted that as per an office memorandum, under the signature of the deputy secretary (extradition) of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the proceedings for extradition have attained finality and Mallya has "exhausted all avenues for appeal" in the UK.
Mallya has been in the UK since March 2016. He is on bail on an extradition warrant executed three years ago by the Scotland Yard on April 18, 2017.