The Supreme Court bench of Justice R F Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran today, reserved its verdict on contempt petitions filed by Swedish company Ericsson against Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani and two others officials over non-payment of its outstanding dues amounting to Rs. 550 crore and defying several orders and ultimatums passed by the court.
Dushyant Dave, the counsel representing Ericsson, argued that the telecommunication operator had blatantly disobeyed apex court’s orders and is, therefore, liable to be punished for contempt. He further claimed that RCom, despite receiving Rs.3000 crores after selling its assets, failed to keep its commitment before the Supreme Court.
Rcom counsel, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi opposed the contempt plea stating that there was no ground for its maintainability as there was no violation of any court order.
Reliance Telecom Ltd chairman Anil Ambani, Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel Ltd chairperson Chhaya Virani, were present in the courtroom when the verdict was reserved by the bench in the case.
As per the facts, on January 4, Ericsson, the Swedish telecom equipment company, initiated a contempt petition before the Supreme Court of India, against Anil Ambani and Reliance Communication for alleged violation of orders passed by the Supreme Court dated August 3 and October 23 respectively, in which it ordered payment of outstanding Rs. 550 crores to be made on or before September 30. The Court likewise, in order to facilitate a successful transaction, also permitted the sale of assets by the defaulter group.
Subsequently, upon request, Reliance was given further extension to facilitate the payment. Thereby, on October 23, the Court granted “last opportunity” to complete the payment of Rs. 550 crores along with interest before December 15, 2018.
Swedish telecom equipment company has alleged that RCom has wilfully acted against the order dated August 3 of the top court and the undertaking given before it to pay up by September-end.
In January, the counsels appearing on behalf of R Com, urged the Court to accept an amount of Rs. 118 crores towards outstanding dues to Ericsson India. Such request was made by R Com in order to establish its authenticity against the apprehensions raised by the Ericsson.
However, the Ericsson declined to accept the aforesaid amount and asked for the entire outstanding sum of Rs. 550 crore.