Vijay Mallya sentencing postponed

India’s Supreme Court did an about turn on Friday on the fate of VJ Mallya, the former head of United Spirits who has fled to Britain where he is fighting extradition proceedings.

Vijay Mallya

Having previously indicated that Mallya would be sentenced in absentia, the country’s highest court ruled that that it will proceed against him only when he is brought before it.

On May 9, the Supreme Court found Mallya guilty of contempt on a plea by the consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India for failing to supply details of all his Indian and offshore assets.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of six months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to about £850,000 or both.

India recently asked Britain to ensure early extradition of Mallya, who is accused of deliberately defaulting on bank loans of some £1.1billion involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

The banks also allege that Mallya transferred $40m paid to him by Diageo to secure his removal from United Spirits Diageo to his children in “flagrant violation” of various judicial orders.

The hearing on whether Mallya should be extradited to India has been set for December 4. Both sides are likely to appeal judgements through the courts, possibly up to the UK’s Supreme Court, a process that could take into 2019.

A second extradition warrant alleging money laundering by Mallya has also been delivered to the UK authorities.

Mallya denies all the charges against him and says they are politically motivated, meaning he will not receive a fair trial in India.

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