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Supreme Court holds Anil Ambani guilty of contempt, tells him to pay up or go to jail

File photo: Anil Ambani. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 20, 2019, 11.14 AM (IST)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday held Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani guilty of contempt of court.

The contempt finding came on a plea filed by Ericcson India which has accused Ambani of not clearing dues of Rs 550 crore. Two Reliance directors were also held guilty of contempt. 

On Wednesday, a bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and Vineet Saran said Ambani and the two directors would have to pay Rs 435 crore to Ericcson within four weeks. The court added that if they failed to do so, a three-month jail term would follow. 

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The Supreme Court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore on all three of them, saying again that if they did not pay up — a one-month jail term would be imposed on them. 

The two directors were Reliance Telecom chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel chairperson Chhaya Virani. 

Ambani had in January this year offered to pay Rs 118 crore to Ericsson but the Swedish company's lawyers turned the offer down. The Supreme Court then told Ambani to deposit the money in the court's registry. 

On Wednesday, the court directed that Rs 118 crore already deposited by Reliance Group in the apex court's registry be disbursed to Ericsson within a week.

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

The court specified that any unconditional apology given by Reliance needs to be rejected as they have breached the undertaking and order. 

The bench said the three Reliance companies did not adhere to the 120-day deadline and the extra 60 days given by the apex court to pay Rs 550 crore to Ericsson.

It said the undertakings given in the court was false to the knowledge of the court and affected the administration of justice. 

Ambani, Seth and Virani were present in the courtroom.

(With inputs from PTI)

Story highlights

Ambani had been accused by Ericcson India of not clearing dues of Rs 550 crore. The Supreme Court has ordered Ambani to pay Rs 435 crore in four weeks or, failing that, go to jail for three months.