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  • SC notice to Mallya on contempt plea

    July 26, 2016

    On a contempt petition by a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India, the Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to runaway liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who shifted to London in the wake of multiple legal proceedings by banks for recovery of Rs 9,000 crore.

    Appearing for the consortium, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi told a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman that Mallya had wilfully failed to comply with the April 7 order of the apex court directing him to make a complete disclosure of assets held by him and his family members. On April 21, the businessman had submitted a sealed cover reportedly containing details of his and family's assets.

    Moreover, the valuation of assets were vague which amounted to suppression of facts from the court, he said, adding that this conduct was deliberate disobedience of the court's April 7 order for which he should face contempt of court proceedings.
     
    The SC rules provide that if the court issues notice to a person in contempt proceedings, he is required to appear in person in the next hearing. It is unlikely that Mallya will appear before the court after four weeks, the time he has been given to respond to the notice.
     
    The court perused the list and said Mallya's personal assets were worth Rs 2,017.36 crore. However, the worth of family assets continued to remain secret as the court honoured Mallya's counsel's request not to make it public. But the court gave a copy of the asset details to the banks.
     
    Rohatgi, however, said Mallya had received Rs 516 crore ($75 million) from liquor MNC Diageo PLC as fee for exiting United Spirits Ltd. Of this amount committed to him over five years, $40 million (Rs 275 crore) was paid the day he signed the agreement to exit United Spirits. The AG said the $40 million was not mentioned in the list of assets he gave to the apex court despite a clear direction that he would disclose all his assets.
     

    OUR TAKE

    The number of cases against the liquor baron could now be printed in pages. The list can go on and on. If he is as innocent as he says he is then he should have had no problem in coming out and defending himself Realistically speaking, the case has been a dragged one. In hopes of catching him, the ED has already been refused by the Interpol. Chances of getting Mallya back is bleak. Only cooperation between the authorities of UK and India and other agencies would be the way forward.


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