At least 24 operational creditors of debt-ridden Reliance Communications and Reliance Telecom have moved various benches of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Mumbai against the two firms of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, to recover dues, under Section 9 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), according to Tribunal records.
Of the creditors that have moved court, at least 11 firms have settled or are in the process of settling the dispute with Anil Ambani’s firms through NCLT. The disputes of the remaining 13 firms with RCom and Reliance Telecom are yet to be resolved.
Some of the operational creditors that have moved NCLT against RCom and Reliance Telecom for recovery of dues include Paytm’s parent firm One 97Communications, logistics firm GATI Ltd, Ascend Telecom Infrastructure Pvt.Ltd, Bangalore International Airport Ltd, Handygo Technologies Pvt Ltd, communications firm Laqshya Media Ltd, Wallop Advertising Pvt. Ltd, Evolve Digital Solutions Pvt Ltd, Enhance Software Solution Pvt Ltd, Syscom Corporation Ltd, Xportsoft Technologies, Navya Industries Pvt Ltd and Abhitech Energycon Ltd.
The amount that the creditors have sought to recover from the two firms range from a few lakhs to crores. For instance, while One 97Communications is seeking to recover dues of about Rs 20 crore from RCom, Ascend Telecom, a telecom infrastructure provider, has filed three separate petitions against RCom and Reliance Telecom to recover over Rs 23 crore.
Among other cases, Bangalore International Airport wants the telecom firm to clear its dues of over Rs 1 crore and Handygo Technologies has claimed that RCom has defaulted in payment of over Rs 3 crore to the firm.
When contacted by The Indian Express, a spokesperson for the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group declined comment.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court gave RCom time till December 15 to clear the pending dues of Rs 550 crore to one of its operational creditor Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson India.
A bench led by Justice Rohinton Nariman, while granting more time to clear the dues as sought by the Anil Ambani firm, said that this is the last opportunity being given to the Indian company. The apex court also told Ericsson that contempt proceedings can be revived against RCom if payments were not made by December 15.
On May 15, the NCLT in Mumbai had admitted the insolvency petition filed by Ericsson in lieu of recovering pending dues of Rs 1,150 crore. Ericsson had signed a seven-year deal in 2014 to operate and manage RCom’s nationwide telecom network. However, RCom amicably settled the dispute with the Swedish company by offering Rs 550 crore which was to be paid by September 30. When RCom did not clear its dues by September 30, Ericsson approached the Supreme Court.
Last year, RCom was forced to undergo strategic debt restructuring (SDR) after it failed to pay dues to several lenders to the tune of Rs 45,000 crore. RCom exited its flagship wireless businesses and is also looking to sell undersea cables, international fixed line and data centres businesses.
Earlier this month, Anil Ambani announced that RCom would exit its telecom business completely to concentrate on real-estate in future. As part of monetisation efforts, RCom’s asset sale to Reliance Jio and Brookfield for an aggregate value of Rs 18100 crore has been allowed by the appellate tribunal. The deal is at an advanced stage of closure.