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Reliance Communications pays Ericsson Rs 550 crore 

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

ANI Mumbai, Maharashtra, India Mar 18, 2019, 10.12 PM (IST)

The requisite payment of Rs 550 crore and interest thereon to Ericsson has been completed on Monday in compliance with the judgment of the Supreme Court, said Reliance Communication (RCom).

Anil Ambani, chairman, RCom, said: “My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support. I and my family are grateful we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply touched with this gesture.”

The Supreme Court on February 20 had held RCom chairman and two directors guilty of contempt of court while hearing a contempt plea filed by Ericsson India against him over not clearing dues of Rs 550 crore.

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

Reacting to the 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, Seth, and Virani to pay Rs 453 crore to Ericsson in a span of four weeks failing which they would face a three-month jail term.

The apex court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore each on Ambani, Seth, and Virani. The court had directed them to deposit the amount with the apex court registry within a span of one month. If they fail to furnish the amount, the three will be awarded a month’s jail-term.

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

The bench said the undertakings given the three Reliance-based companies to pay, showed that they had “no intention” to honour it within the 120 days given by the court or the extended time allotted.

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 be present before it during the hearing in connection with the contempt case.

Ericsson had contended that RCom is minting huge profits and is wrongfully claiming that it has no money to pay Rs 550 crore to the telecom equipment maker.

Anil Ambani-led RCom had earlier agreed to deposit Rs 118 crore but Ericsson refused to accept. Following which, 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 RCom to 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. It had alleged that RCom didn't pay dues of over 1,500 crore. It challenged the debt-ridden firm before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).

Ericsson later agreed to settle its debt of over Rs 1,500 crore for a sum of Rs 550 crore.

Following, the NCLAT order the apex court previously had noted that RCom within 120 days will have to settle its dues of Rs 550 crore.

Story highlights

The Supreme Court on February 20 had held RCom chairman and two directors guilty of contempt of court while hearing a contempt plea filed by Ericsson India against him over not clearing dues of Rs 550 crore.