Pay Rs 453 cr or face jail; SC orders Anil Ambani

Reliance Communications (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani on Wednesday was found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court over non-payment of Rs 550 crore due owed to Swedish telecom giant Ericsson. A bench of justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saharan asked Ambani to pay Rs 453 crore to Ericsson within four weeks and said he would face three months jail if its orders were not followed.
The bench pronounced the verdict after Ericsson dragged Anil Ambani after RCom failed to clear its dues despite having given an undertaking, according to the petitioner’s counsel, to pay the amount.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing Ericsson India in the case, had earlier invoked the Rafale deal to target Ambani during the hearing.
“They have money for Rafale. Somebody who is getting involved in every conceivable project has no money to pay Rs 550 crore to us and honour this Court’s order”, the Counsel told the bench.
Are you on LinkedIn? Follow Microsoft News India and keep up with the latest industry news, career, jobs and tech updates. Connect with us now!
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Anil Ambani, sought to counter this and said the undertaking was conditional upon the sale of RCom assets to Jio. “To say that Anil Ambani gave a personal undertaking and that it was unconditional is a traversing of justice … It was conditional”, Rohatgi said.
Rohatgi told the bench that the sale which was expected to net Rs 18,100 crore brought in only Rs 780 crore. Dave submitted that this money from the sale was given to the Department of Telecommunications instead of Ericsson. Rohatgi replied that lenders had done this to keep the telecom licence alive as without that, there would be nothing.
There was also controversy over the bench’s order that sought Ambani’s personal appearance during the contempt proceeding. The Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi sacked of two Supreme Court employees for tampering with the apex court order.