Reliance Communication Ltd (RCom) Chairman Anil Ambani leaves after appearing at the Supreme Court in connection with a contempt petition filed by Ericsson India against him over non-payment of dues. PTI Photo/ Shahbaz Khan
Reliance Communication Ltd (RCom) Chairman Anil Ambani leaves after appearing at the Supreme Court in connection with a contempt petition filed by Ericsson India against him over non-payment of dues. PTI Photo/ Shahbaz Khan

Mumbai: In a big setback for Anil Ambani, the Supreme Court today held Reliance ADAG chairman guilty of contempt. Pleas were filed by telecom equipment maker Ericsson for not clearing its dues of Rs 550 crore.

The Apex Court asked Ambani to pay a part of the amount sought at Rs 453 crore to Ericsson in four weeks. If he fails to follow the orders, a three months jail term may be on the cards.

A fine of Rs 1 crore was also imposed on each of the group companies, which is to be deposited with the SC registry.

On February 13, a SC bench of Justices RF Nariman and Vineet Saran had reserved its judgement when Ericsson India had alleged that the Reliance Group has money to invest in the Rafale jet deal, but they were unable to clear its Rs 550-crore dues, a charge which was vehemently denied by the Anil Ambani-led company.

Anil Ambani claimed in front of top court that on failed attempt of its assets sale deal with Reliance Jio, his company has entered insolvency proceedings and is not in control of the funds.

Reliance Communications also claimed in front of the court that they had tried to move “heaven and earth” to ensure Ericsson gets its due but could not monetise its assets on a failed deal with Jio.

The contempt plea has been filed against Ambani, Reliance Telecom chairman Satish Seth, Reliance Infratel chairperson Chhaya Virani and SBI chairman at the Apex court. The court had earlier in October asked RCom to clear the dues by December 2018, stating delayed payment would attract an interest of 12 per cent per annum.

The plea by Ericsson had sought that the court direct Ambani and the lenders to pay its dues of Rs 550 crore with interest as per the October 23 order.

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