The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it cannot wait any longer for fugitive industrialist Vijay Mallya and fixed January 18 for sentence hearing against him in 2017 contempt case.
"We can't wait more. It is up to Mallya to appear in person or advance arguments through his counsel. But, the matter has to see the light as it is getting adjourned since 2017, when he was found guilty of contempt. Only sentencing is pending for last four years," a bench presided over by Justice U U Lalit said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, submitted a note by the Ministry of External Affairs for the court's consideration.
After going through the note, the bench said that Mallya's extradition proceedings have attained finality, as he has exhausted all avenues of appeal in the UK.
However, certain confidential proceedings are going on and the UK has not disclosed the details of these proceedings.
It noted that due to these proceedings, Mallya's presence could not be secured, despite its directions. The bench said the process to award sentence to Mallya in the contempt of court matter must get over, as the top court has waited sufficiently for long.
The court posted the matter for consideration on January 18, 2022.
On July 14, 2017, Mallya was held guilty of contempt for not failing to disclose transfer of $40 million to his children's accounts despite the top court's order in a matter related to recovery of Rs 9,000 crore dues to the banks.
The matter related to sentence against Mallya remained pending due to various reasons, including Covid-19 pandemic.
The Union government failed to produce Mallya in person before the court.
It had earlier told the court that Mallya's extradition has been delayed due to confidential proceedings in the United Kingdom.
Mallya had evaded law enforcement authorities on defaulting repayment of Rs 9,000 crore loan, and stayed at the United Kingdom. He has suffered setbacks after the court over there in May, 2020 allowed for his extradition.
The top court had in August, 2020 dismissed a review petition filed by Mallya against his conviction in a contempt case in 2017.
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