In yet another setback for absconding businessman Vijay Mallya, the Supreme Court on Tuesday found him guilty of contempt and summoned him to personally appear on July 10.
The top court’s decision came while hearing a plea by a consortium of banks, who moved the Supreme Court after Mallya received $40 million (approx. Rs 260 crore) from British firm Diageo Plc in February 2016 and allegedly transferred the money to his children, instead of repaying loans that he owes to the banks.
The options for Mallya appear to be dwindling. As India’s agencies step up their diplomatic efforts to push UK for his extradition, the top court’s latest order asking him to appear him before it builds the pressure against him. Failing to appear before the SC as directed will invite a non-bailable arrest warrant against him.
In such a scenario, as and when Mallya does return to the country, he will be arrested the moment he steps foot on Indian soil.
India’s efforts to bring beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya back to face law in went a step forward last week when a joint team of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reaching London to push for the liquor baron’s extradition.
India asked the United Kingdom to ensure early extradition of fugitive liquor baron who is facing cases of bank loan defaults to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore by his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
61-year-old Mallya, who has been living in Britain since last year, was arrested by Scotland Yard last month on India's extradition request.
Within hours of his arrest, Mallya, who is accused of cheating and fraud, was released on bail by a London court.
The development was an outcome of the extradition request by India pursuant to orders from a Mumbai court in two different cases against the liquor baron and founder of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya's extradition is now before the British court where neither the CBI nor the ED are direct parties. Indian agencies primarily aid and assist British prosecutors with case material to counter the plea of absconders before the courts, an official explained.
Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore (including interest) to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016. The CBI has two cases against him -- one related to the IDBI Bank case and the other related to a loan default of over Rs 6,000 crore filed on the basis of a complaint from a State Bank of India led consortium.
India and the UK have an extradition treaty, signed in 1992, but so far only one extradition has taken place under the arrangement - that of Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, who was sent back to India last October to face trial for his involvement in the post-Godhra riots of 2002.