Judgement on contempt plea against Anil Ambani today

The Supreme Court would on Wednesday deliver its judgement on a plea by Ericsson India for contempt action against RCom Ltd chairman Anil Ambani and two others for non-clearance of its Rs 550-crore dues. PTI file photo

The Supreme Court would on Wednesday deliver its judgement on a plea by Ericsson India for contempt action against RCom Ltd chairman Anil Ambani and two others for non-clearance of its Rs 550-crore dues.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran had on February 14 reserved its verdict.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing Ericsson India, claimed there was willful disobedience of apex court's orders and contempt action must be initiated against them. He said they have got money for Rafale but did not bother to clear the dues despite the assurance.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for RCom, countered the argument and said no contempt was made as no orders of the apex court were violated. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal claimed individuals cannot be held liable for the lapse, if any, on the part of the company.

Ambani, Reliance Telecom Ltd chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel Ltd chairperson Chhaya Virani, had personally appeared before the court.

The court had on October 23, 2018, asked RCom to clear the dues by December 15, 2018, saying delayed payment would attract the interest of 12 per cent per annum.

The plea by Ericsson had sought that the court directs Ambani and the lender's forum to hand over the Rs 550 crore with interest from sale proceeds as per the October 23 order.

Along with contempt proceedings against RCom chairman and two others, Ericsson had also sought that they are "detained in civil prison" unless they purge themselves by making the payment.

The company had alleged that RCom has "willfully and consciously" defied the order dated August 3, 2018, of the top court and the undertaking given before it to pay up by September-end last year.

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

The top court had perused last year's May 30 interim order of the NCLAT and noted that Ericsson India was willing to settle its debt of over Rs 1,500 crore for a sum of Rs 550 crore which was to be paid by RCom within 120 days.

It had on August 3 last year allowed RCom to sell assets covering spectrum, fibre, telecom towers and certain real estate assets for an aggregate value of approximately Rs 25,000 crore. 

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Judgement on contempt plea against Anil Ambani today

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