Vijay Mallya questions change of bench in SC

Vijay Mallya questions change of bench in SC

Beleaguered industrialist and defunct Kingfisher Airlines' promoter Vijay Mallya on Monday questioned in the Supreme Court transferring of a contempt case filed by banks' consortium from one bench to another.

“The matter was part heard. The previous bench is very much available,” senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for Mallya, wondered before a bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit.

The contempt application as well as a plea by SBI led banks' consortium for recovery of Rs 9,400 crore loaned to Mallya, now living in the UK, and his airlines were being heard by a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman.

When Mallya's counsel raised objection, the bench said, “The matter is now listed before us. There must be some order by the Chief Justice of India (as he is the master of roster and decides listing of cases).”

The bench also tried to find out from the court officers the reasons for listing the matter before it. “Either the judges (who were earlier hearing it) or the CJI must have said something (given reasons). There must be some reason for listing here,” the bench said.

The bench said it would find out the reasons and put the matter for consideration on March 3. The consortium of banks had sought repayment of Rs 9,400 crore loaned to Kingfisher Airlines. The banks claimed Mallya did not make full disclosure of assets as ordered by the court on April 7 last.

The court had in January asked Mallya to explain why he violated Karnataka HC's orders passed on November 13, 2013 and transferred the $ 40 million received from Diageo, the British liquor major, to his children’s accounts.

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