Mallya’s appeal rejected by India’s Supreme Court
India’s Supreme Court has rejected a plea by fugitive spirits baron Vijay Mallya to review its May 2017 finding that he was in contempt of Court for transferring $40 million to his children.
The former head of both United Spirits and United Breweries was found to be in contempt after a consortium of banks alleged that Mallya had transferred the $40 million received from Diageo to his children in “flagrant violation” of various judicial orders.
At the time, the Delhi court declined to pass sentence on Mallya, who had fled to the UK a year earlier, preferring to wait until he faced the bench in person. It has yet to pass sentence.
The payment from Diageo was the first in deal under which Mallya agreed to sever all links with his former Indian liquour businesses and enter a “no compete” agreement. Diageo claims that Mallya has frequently broken that agreement and has thus ceased further payments to him. It is suing him for repayment of the initial sum.
In the 2017 proceedings the banks (who themselves are suing Mallya for repayment of £1.15 billion in loans made to his failed Kingfisher Airlines) alleged that he concealed material facts and diverted the money to his son Siddharth Mallya and daughters Leanna Mallya and Tanya Mallya in violation of orders passed by the Karnataka High Court.
In June this year, the Supreme Court in Delhi ordered its registry to explain why Mallya’s review petition had not been listed for hearing during the preceding three years. It also directed the registry to provide full details and name the court officials who had dealt with the file in that period.
After a drawn out series of hearing and appeals, Mallya lost his final manoeuvre in July to avoid extradition from the UK to India to face charges of corruption, money laundering and fraud in addition to being sentenced for being in contempt of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in London declined to intervene with the extradition order. Normally the Home Secretary would then have had 28 days to remove him to India but that process has been stalled because Mallya is believed to have sought asylum in the UK.
The British authorities have refused to comment further on his case until all legal processes have been completed.
Although Mallya is yet to be sentenced, he has been demanded to be brought before the court on 5 October.