The Supreme Court of India has allowed Anil Ambani led Reliance Communication to clear its dues to Ericsson by December 15th 2018. A Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman and S Abdul Nazeer passed the order after hearing Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave who was representing Ericsson and Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal who appeared for Reliance Communications.
On August 3, the Supreme Court had ordered Reliance to pay Rs. 550 crore to Ericsson to settle the 1,500 crores owed by Reliance. The court had directed Reliance to pay this amount by 30th September.
Ericsson had approached the Supreme Court after Reliance had failed to comply with the order. The Apex Court after hearing Ericsson and Reliance ordered that the amount due can be cleared by Reliance by 15th December. In case of default, a penalty at 12% will have to be paid, which will kick off from the original due date of September 30.
“You (Reliance) ask for a reasonable period, we will give you and after that its over”, Justice Nariman said.
Senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal who was representing Anil Ambani led Reliance communication said, “Jio has not given us a penny. We are waiting for DoT to give us NoC for the sale of assets. The moment DoT gives us the NoC, within a week we will pay.”
This was opposed by senior advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for Ericsson who dissuaded the court from accepting the DoT’s argument.
Ericsson had filed a plea seeking to initiate contempt action against Reliance for not complying with the deadline set by the Court and Reliance had approached SC for an extension. Both petitions were heard by the Apex court on 23rd October and a revised due date was set.
Ericsson had signed a seven-year deal with Reliance Communications in 2014 to operate and manage its nationwide telecom network. After alleged non-payment of dues since 2016, Ericsson moved the NCLT against Reliance Communication and group companies, Reliance Infratel and Reliance Telecom, in September 2017.
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had on 30 May stayed a corporate insolvency resolution process initiated against Anil Ambani-owned Reliance communication and two group companies, Reliance Infratel and Reliance Telecom.
The NCLAT order came after Ericsson India, which had initiated the insolvency proceedings, accepted Reliance’s offer to pay ₹550 crore by 30 September.