New Delhi: Anil Ambani, chairman of debt-ridden Reliance Communications on Monday thanked his elder brother Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita Ambani for their ‘timely support’ in clearing the outstanding dues of Rs 458.77 crore to Swedish company Ericsson. An Ericsson spokesperson confirmed that the telecom gear maker had received the amount from RCom which also includes interest.
“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,” said a company spokesperson in a statement sent to the media.
It added,”The requisite payment of Rs. 550 crore and interest thereon to Ericsson has been completed today in compliance of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”
Battle between Ericsson and RCom – All you need to know
Ericsson had moved a bankruptcy court in 2017 alleging it had not been paid dues of around Rs 1,600 crore after signing a deal in 2013 to operate, maintain and manage the telco’s nationwide network. It extracted a personal guarantee from Ambani to pay the dues.
But repeated failure by RCom to comply with the promise and Ambani’s personal guarantee landed him in trouble last month when the Supreme Court held him in contempt.
Thereafter, it suffered another blow when National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) last week refused to free up Rs 260 crore tax refunds withheld by lenders saying it did not have jurisdiction to do so. Banks had opposed release of the tax refunds.
The apex court on February 20 had held Ambani guilty of contempt of court and ordered the debt-laden company to clear the dues to Ericsson within four weeks or face a 3-month jail term. The last date of making the payment was March 19.
‘Brother- the saviour’
Notably this was the second time that Mukesh Ambani has rescued his brother after their famous feud that ended up splitting the Reliance group into two – Reliance Jio Infocomm and RCom.
In 2018, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm bought RCom’s wireless assets for Rs 3,000 crore, in a sign that the bitterness of the past was buried.
(With agency inputs)