New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Reliance Communication (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani to appear again before it tomorrow in a contempt petition filed by Ericsson India over not clearing its dues of Rs 550 crore after selling its assets to Reliance Jio. Notably, on January 7, the top court had issued a notice to him and sought his presence in the next hearing.
A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Sharan had sought a response from Ambani and others in four weeks. Appearing for RCom, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi had urged the bench to accept Rs 118 crore towards the dues to establish its bonafide.
However, Reliance Communications had said it has deposited Rs 131 crore with the Supreme Court registry as part payment of the total dues of Rs 550 crore that the company owes to Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson.
Last year, the apex 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.
The plea had sought that the court directed Ambani and the lenders’ forum to hand over the Rs 550 crore with interest from sale proceeds as per the October 23, last year order.
It had said Ericsson can revive its contempt plea against Reliance if the amount is not paid by December 15, 2018.
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).
The top court had perused the May 30 last year interim order of the NCLAT and noted that Ericsson India 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 real estate assets for an aggregate value of approximately Rs 25,000 crore.
(With agency inputs)