SC holds Anil Ambani Guilty of Contempt, 3-months imprisonment if Ericsson not paid in 4 weeks

DN Bureau

The Supreme Court on Wednesday held Reliance Communication (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani and two directors guilty of contempt of court on a contempt plea filed by Ericsson India against him over not clearing its dues of Rs 550 crores.

Anil Ambani
Anil Ambani

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday held Reliance Communication (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani and two directors guilty of contempt of court on a contempt plea filed by Ericsson India against him over not clearing its dues of Rs 550 crores.

A bench comprised of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Vineet Sharan asked Anil Ambani and two directors to not treat apex court’s orders with a “cavalier attitude”.

Reacting to top court's directive, Reliance communication spokesperson in a press statement, said, "We respect the Supreme Court's judgment. The RCOM group shall comply with same." 

The Judicature ordered Ambani, Satish Seth and Chhaya Virani them to pay Rs 453 crore to Ericsson in a span of four weeks failing which they will face imprisonment for three months.

The apex court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore each on Anil Ambani, Seth and Reliance and Chhaya Virani. The court has directed them to deposit the amount with apex court registry within a span of one month or else face one month jail term.

The top court also directed them to handover the RCom registry of Rs 118 crore to Ericsson.

The bench also stated in its order that three Reliance based companies did not adhere to the 120-day deadline nor the extra 60 days "indulgence" given by the top court to pay Rs. 550 crore to the Ericsson.

The bench held that the undertaking given by them was false to the knowledge of the court and it affected the administration of justice.

Anil Ambani was present in the court when the bench pronounced the order. Earlier, the top court had asked Ambani to remain present before it during the hearing in connection with the contempt case.

Ambani has contended that there is no violation of the order and no willful defiance of this court’s order.

Ericsson had contended that RComis making a huge profit but takes a stand that they do not have money to pay Rs 550 crore to Ericsson.

Anil Ambani-led RCom had earlier agreed to deposit Rs 118 crore but Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson refused to accept. Then, the top court had asked the RCom chief to deposit the amount in its registry.

On October 23 last year, the top court had asked RComto clear the dues by December 15, 2018, saying delayed payment would attract the interest of 12 per cent per annum.

In 2014, Ericsson India had signed a seven-year deal to operate and manage RCom's nationwide telecom network. Ericsson India had alleged that RCom had not been paid dues of over 1,500 crore. It challenged the debt-ridden firm before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).

Perusing the NCLAT May last year order, the apex court had noted that Ericsson India was willing to settle its debt of over Rs 1,500 crore for a sum of Rs 550 crore, and it has to be paid by RComwithin 120 days. (ANI)













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