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SC holds Anil Ambani guilty of contempt; orders RCom to pay Ericsson

If RCom fails to pay Rs 453 cr to Ericsson within four weeks, then Anil Ambani and two directors will face jail term of three months

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Anil Ambani
RCom Chairman Anil Ambani | Photo: PTI

The Supreme Court on Wednesday held chairman and two directors guilty of contempt of court on three contempt applications filed by Telecom equipment maker against him over not clearing dues of Rs 550 crore.

The apex court has asked RCom to pay Rs 453 crore to within four weeks, failing which, Anil Ambani, Reliance Telecom chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel chairperson Chhaya Virani would face a three-month jail term.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore each on them, which has to be deposited within a month. If they fail to furnish the amount, the three will be awarded a month's jail-term.

A bench comprising of Justices RF Nariman and Vineet Saran said if the contemnor failed to make the payments within the specified period, they will undergo a jail term of three months.

It directed that Rs 118 crore already deposited by Reliance Group in the apex court's registry be disbursed to

"From the undertakings given by Reliance Group's top brass, it appears they have wilfully not paid the amount to Ericsson despite orders," it said.

Earlier, in his defence, Ambani told the top court that with the failure of its assets sale deal with elder brother Mukesh Ambani-led his company has entered insolvency proceedings and is not in control of the funds.

(RCom) had told the court they had tried to move "heaven and earth" to ensure Ericsson gets its due but was unable to do so due to the failure of assets sale deal with Jio.

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

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

SC order highlights

— Unconditional apology by Reliance cannot be accepted given the attitude of the deponent to SC

— RCom group to purge contempt by payment of Rs 453 crore within four weeks to Ericsson.

— In case of failure to pay, will have to suffer three months imprisonment.
— Additionally, one crore fine imposed on each of the to be deposited with the SC.

First Published: Wed, February 20 2019. 11:05 IST