- Supreme Court had ordered Anil Ambani's RCom to pay dues within 4 weeks
- It ruled that Rs 180 crore already deposited be given to Ericsson
- Top Court berated Anil Ambani for "wilful disobedience" of its order
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In the hearing, the court had berated the RCom chairman for what it called a "cavalier attitude" and "willful disobedience" of its order to repay Ericcson, and fined him and two of his directors Rs 1 crore each.
The Supreme Court ruled that Rs 180 crore already deposited by Reliance Group in the court registry be given to Ericsson.
A statement from Reliance Communications quoted Anil Ambani as saying, "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."
Ericsson India had signed a seven-year deal with RCom in 2014 to manage and operate its network. Last year, it went to the Supreme Court against Anil Ambani's company over unpaid dues of Rs 576.77 crore.
Anil Ambani had told the top court that with the failure of an assets sale deal with older brother Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio, his company had entered insolvency proceedings and was not in control of the funds. The assets sale was stalled after the government refused to provide immunity to Mukesh Ambani's firm from any past-payment liabilities.
RCom had also told the court that it had tried to move "heaven and earth" to ensure Ericsson gets its dues but was unable to do so because of the failed assets sale.
Ericsson had argued before the court that while the Reliance Group had the money to invest in the Rafale jet deal, it had failed to clear its dues, a charge which was vehemently denied by the Anil Ambani-led company.
Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence is one of the offset partners of Dassault, the maker of the Rafale jets for which India and France signed a deal in 2016. The 36-jet contract is at the core of the opposition's allegations of corruption to benefit Anil Ambani; the allegation has been strongly refuted by the government, Reliance and Dassault and the Supreme Court also dismissed calls for an investigation.
On October 23, the court had asked RCom to clear its dues by December 15, warning that delayed payment would mean an interest of 12 per cent a year. The plea by Ericsson had sought that the court direct Anil Ambani and the lenders forum to follow that order and hand over Rs. 550 crore with interest from the assets sale proceeds.
Once India's second-biggest phone carrier, RCom shut down its mobile business in 2017.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal
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