The Supreme Court reserved its verdict on the contempt plea filed by Ericsson India against Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) Chairman Anil Ambani and two others for non-clearance of dues to the tune of Rs 550 crore on Wednesday. A bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and Vineet Saran said that they were reserving its verdict.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who appeared for Ericsson India argued that there was wilful disobedience on the part of Anil Ambani and co of Supreme Court's orders and that contempt action should be initiated against them. Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for RCom counter-argued that no orders of the apex court were violated and hence there was no contempt.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing on a contempt notice against Reliance group chairman Anil Ambani, along with Reliance Telecom Chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel Chairperson Chhaya Virani, who were ordered to be present in court on Wednesday.
Supreme Court reserves its judgement on a contempt plea filed against Reliance Communication (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani by Ericsson India over not clearing its dues of Rs 550 crore; Anil Ambani leaves from the Supreme Court, Delhi pic.twitter.com/JhwfHQfbvj- ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2019
On October 23 last year, the court had asked RCom to clear the dues by December 15, adding that delayed payment would attract an 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.
Dave said during the hearing on Tuesday, "They (Reliance) wrote to us on January 21 saying that they wanted to clear the dues and demand drafts are ready but we have to withdraw our contempt petition from this court". He said Ericsson replied to them that the case cannot be withdrawn as apex court has already issued notice. "To our surprise, on February 1, they made a public statement that they have decided to opt for insolvency proceedings. Now we have come to square one," he said.
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 National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
(With PTI inputs)