SC finds Mallya guilty of contempt over $40-mn transfer to kids

In yet another setback for absconding businessman Vijay Mallya, the Supreme Court today found him guilty of contempt of court and summoned him on 10 July to answer for transferring $40 million to his children in violation of a court order.

"We have found respondent number 3 (Mallya) guilty of contempt of court on two grounds," a bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit said.

The apex court directed the former liquor baron to appear before it for arguments on the quantum of punishment in the matter.

Mallya, 61, is now in the United Kingdom and is facing extradition proceedings, as he is wanted in India for loan default and alleged money laundering.

The consortium of banks lending to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines had moved the Supreme Court seeking contempt proceedings after Mallya received $40-million from the British firm Diageo Plc in February last year and transferred the money to his children in flagrant violation of various judicial orders, including those passed by the Debt Recovery Tribunal and the Karnataka High Court, Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi told the Supreme Court.

The consortium of banks also alleged that Mallya was not cooperating in the investigation of cases against him and was averse to disclosing his foreign assets.

In a rejoinder affidavit to Mallya's reply, the banks had said that disclosure of overseas assets by him and his family was significant for recovering the dues.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had earlier said that the beleaguered businessman has also not agreed to deposit a "substantial amount" as part of the Rs9,400 crore owed by him ''to establish his bona fides".

Mallya had said the banks had no right to information regarding his overseas movable and immovable assets as he was a Non-Resident Indian since 1988.

He had claimed that as an NRI, he was not obliged to disclose his overseas assets, and added that his three children, wife, all US citizens, also need not disclose their assets. "Overseas assets were not considered while granting loans," he had said in a statement