NEW DELHI: After numerous adjournments, the Supreme Court on Thursday fast-tracked the proceedings against absconder industrialist Vijay Mallya and reserved its order on contempt proceeding against him for allegedly diverting 40 million US$ to his children’s account in foreign banks in violation of court order.
A bench of Justice A K Goel and U U Lalit reserved its order on whether Mallya was guilty of contempt or not and what further action should be taken to bring back the money. The court concluded the proceeding after holding hearing for three and half hours during which Centre contended that Mallya was mocking at Indian system after managing to flee away. It said that government was holding talks with the UK authorities to deport him.
It is exactly one year ago when the apex court had started proceeding against Mallya and had issued notice to him on March 8, 2016 on a plea of consortium of banks led by SBI for recovery of about Rs 9,000 crore which Mallya and his companies owed to them. He, however, managed to flee the country days before SC took up the case against him.
Pleading the court to direct Mallya to bring back 40 million US$, which he received from Diageo, Attorney General told the bench that Mallya had breached SC order and his refusal to bring back the money had agreviated his breach and he should be directed to appear personally before court.
“He has taken court for ride and we are taking action to bring him back. He has not made a honest disclosure regarding 40 million USD. We dont know how to get back the money but majesty of court is very important and he must abide by court’s order, ” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said.
The court, however, raised question on how its order, if it was passed against Mallya, would be executed as he was living in UK. It asked attorney general to provide modalities under which its order would be implemented.
Rohatgi, after taking instruction from the government, informed the court that the Centre was already trying to deport him and SC order would further boost the process to bring him back to face various proceedings against him.
Mallya’s counsel senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan strongly opposed any action against him and alleged that the businessman was being unnecessarily targetted by the government despite attaching properties worth of more than Rs 10,000 crore. He said that Mallya was not in a position to refund the money.
“There is no violation of court’s order as I was asked to give details of my assets and I provided all the information about assets I was holding on that day. I was not asked to provide all transaction so details about transferring on 40 million U SD was not there. It is shocking that SC is trying to proceed against him. He is being targeted after his business model has failed and he is made poster boy of default when many other people have defaulted. in refunding the loan, ” he said.
Countering his arguments, senior advocate Shyam Diwan, appearing for banks, said that the amount was parked intentionally in foreign banks to make it beyond the reach of Indian authorities.
Source: Times of India