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Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya given 4-month imprisonment, Rs 2000 fine in contempt case by Supreme Court

The apex court today ordered Mallya to deposit back USD 40 million with interest within four weeks failing which would lead to attachment of properties.

The Supreme Court Monday, awarded a 4-moth jail sentence and imposed a fine of Rs 2000 on Indian fugitive and businessman Vijay Mallya in a 2017 contempt of court case.

On May 9, 2017, the SC had held Mallya guilty of contempt of court on two counts. Firstly, for withholding information from the court about transferring USD 40 million to his children in violation of the court’s order, and secondly, for the “flagrant violation” of orders passed by the Karnataka High Court.

The apex court bench led by Justice UU Lalit today ordered Mallya to deposit back USD 40 million with interest within four weeks, besides paying a fine of Rs 2000. Failing to do so would lead to the attachment of his properties, said the court.

On March 10 of this year, the Supreme Court’s bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and P S Narasimha reserved its verdict. Mallya was given numerous chances to come before the SC in person or through counsel, but he disregarded the order of the Supreme Court. The SC stated today, “we have said in the judgment of 2017 that the action of contemnor in disbursing USD 40 million was contempt. We must impose an adequate sentence on the contemnor to uphold the majesty of law and the amounts in dispute are available for execution.”

The court added that the fugitive liquor baron did not show any remorse throughout the trial.

On February 10, the Supreme Court Bench had given Mallya the last chance to appear before it, either in person or through his lawyer. The court had noted that it had waited “sufficiently long”.

The Supreme Court had decided on November 30, 2021, to move forward with the proceedings to determine the quantum of sentence to be awarded to Mallya for contempt of court, noting that it could not wait any longer for Mallya’s extradition from the UK.

“We cannot wait anymore now. Proceedings for extradition have attained finality and respondent no. 3 (Mallya) has exhausted all avenues of appeal in the United Kingdom. The matter (sentencing in contempt case) shall be dealt with finally on January 18, 2022,” the Bench had said.

Mallya is already accused of defaulting on bank loans worth Rs 9,000 crore in connection with his now-defunct Kingfisher airlines. Mallya had fled the country and has been residing in the United Kingdom since March 2016.

In 2019, he became the first person to be declared a fugitive economic offender on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate. In July 2021, the London court declared him bankrupt. Prior to that in May 2020, he had lost the legal battle against his extradition to India. However, he has not yet returned to face trial. Mallya continues to be on bail.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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