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SC reserves order on Ericsson's contempt plea against RCom chief Anil Ambani, others

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Wednesday reserved its verdict on Ericsson India's plea seeking contempt action against Communications Ltd Anil and two others for non-clearance of its Rs 550-crore dues.

A bench of justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran said it is reserving its verdict.

During the hearing, Dushyant Dave, appearing for Ericsson India, said there was wilful disobedience of apex court's orders and contempt action should be initiated against them.

Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for RCom, countered the argument and said no contempt was made as no orders of the apex court were violated.

Ambani, Telecom Ltd and Infratel Ltd Chhaya Virani, were present in the courtroom.

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

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

On Tuesday, Dave told the top court that Reliance has committed contempt a number of times and they have not purged themselves.

He said that violated two orders of the top court and even committed perjury by concealing information under oath.

Rohatgi said the deal worth Rs 25,000 crore to sell assets of the telecom company to has fallen through and now they are in insolvency.

Dave claimed that in its BSE filings Reliance has claimed that they have received Rs 3,000 crore and Rs 2,000 crore from sale of assets to different firms including recently.

Rohatgi said that money has not been received by Reliance.

On January 7, had said that it would deposit two demand drafts of Rs 118 crore to establish its bona fide with the apex court registry and told the court that it would pay the remaining amount in due course.

Besides seeking contempt proceedings against RCom and two others, Ericsson had also sought that they be "detained in civil prison" unless they purge themselves by making the payment.

It had also sought directions to the to prevent Ambani, and from leaving the country.

The company had alleged that RCom has "wilfully 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 crore and challenged the debt-ridden firm before (NCLAT).

The top court had perused last year's May 30 interim order of the NCLAT and noted that Ericsson 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 for an aggregate value of approximately Rs 25,000 crore.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 13 2019. 17:05 IST