The Supreme Court has asked Reliance Communication (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani to appear before it again on Wednesday in connection with a contempt petition filed by Ericsson India over the non-payment of dues worth Rs 550 crore. Ambani, who was asked to respond to the petition last month, had appeared before the bench Tuesday.
RCom had moved the SC on January 4 this year for initiation of contempt proceedings for the second time against RCom after the company failed to comply with a Supreme Court order to clear its due by December 15, 2018. The SC had warned that failure to comply would attract an interest of 12 per cent per annum.
During the hearing, however, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for RCom, had asked the Supreme Court to accept Rs 118 crore towards outstanding dues to Ericsson India to establish its bonafide. The counsel appearing for Ericsson, however, refused to accept the amount and said the entire outstanding sum of Rs 550 crore should be deposited.
RCom has a debt of more than Rs 47,000 crore.
The apex court bench, headed by Justice R F Nariman, then directed RCom to deposit a demand draft of Rs 118 crore in the registry.
Explained: Ericsson’s case against RCom
Ericsson had signed with RCom in 2014 to operate its nationwide telecom network. After the debt-ridden company failed to pay Ericsson, it moved an insolvency petition in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The petition to recover pending dues of Rs 1,150 crore was admitted in May last year.
However, RCom amicably settled the dispute by offering Rs 550 crore which was to be paid by September 30. When RCom failed to pay this as well, Ericsson approached the Supreme Court.
Ericsson had first moved the Supreme Court in September. RCom was given a new deadline of December 15 to pay its dues. When it failed to do so, Ericsson approached the court again in January this year.