SC awards 4-month jail, imposes Rs. 2,000 fine to Mallya
Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya was awarded a four-month jail term and a Rs. 2,000 fine by the Supreme Court on Monday in a five-year-old contempt of court case. The court also asked the liquor baron's family members to return $40M that was transferred to them in violation of the court order. The Supreme Court had reserved its order in this case on March 10.
- Mallya faces charges of money laundering and fraud in India, including loans to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, which totaled Rs. 9,000 crore.
- In March 2016, he left India. He was proclaimed a fugitive economic offender (FEO) by a Mumbai court in 2019.
- Mallya is also fighting an extradition battle with the British government to halt his deportation to India for failing to repay debts.
Mallya—accused in a bank loan default case of more than Rs. 9,000 crore concerning his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines—was charged in the contempt case in 2017. In 2020, the SC dismissed his plea requesting a review of the 2017 ruling that held him guilty of contempt for transferring $40M to his children. To note, Mallya has been living in the United Kingdom since March 2016.
The 2017 contempt of court case—in which Mallya was found guilty for transferring money to his children—was filed by the State Bank of India. An SC bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and PS Narasimha has noted it gave multiple chances to Mallya to either appear personally or through a lawyer and even issued "specific directions" in its November 30, 2021 order.
To recall, the Supreme Court found Mallya guilty of two counts of contempt in 2017. Firstly, he was found guilty of not disclosing his assets properly, and secondly, for "flagrant violation" of the directives issued by the Karnataka High Court. The HC ordered Mallya to wind up United Breweries Holdings Ltd (UBHL) and its assets to pay off Kingfisher's debts back in 2017.