Reliance Telecom-Ericsson case: Anil Ambani defended by Congress leader Kapil Sibal in Supreme Court

Contrary to Rahul Gandhi's claim of Modi favouring Anil Ambani, the govt is not allowing RComm to sell its assents to Jio to clear its dues.

Supreme Court has delivered a setback and served a contempt notice to the chairman of Reliance communications Anil Ambani, for failure to repay the due of Rs 550 crore to Sweden-based telecommunication company Ericsson. SC also refused to exempt the chairman from the physical appearance in the court in the next hearing.

Anil Ambani was represented by Congress leader Kapil Sibal and Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi. Both advocates tried hard to convince the court to exempt Ambani from physical appearance, but the court refused to budge from its stand.

Congress leader has defended Ambani in many hearings of the case in past too. In October last year, Kapil Sibal had asserted in court that the delay in repayment on behalf of its client company is due to non-issuance of NoC for Sale of Assets by Department of Telecommunication.

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RCom offered bank drafts worth Rs 118 crore, net of tax, to Ericsson in court, in order to settle a part of the principal amount owed to Ericcson. But, the advocates representing the Swedish company have refused to accept the part payment. Ericsson is also pursuing insolvency proceedings against RCom. The next hearing of the insolvency proceeding is on January 22.

The court has also attended RComm’s contempt plea against the DoT, for not clearing the spectrum sale to Mukesh Ambani led Jio. The spectrum deal is in a logjam, after Jio wrote a plea to DoT, that it should hold the deal ’till the time company agrees fully that RComm has complied to priorly-discussed conditions. Both Kapil Sibal and Rohtage have given assurance to Jio, that RComm is ready to comply with every condition discussed before.

Anil Ambani is not only stuck between corporate cases in courts but also is in the middle of the Rafale drama, orchestrated by Congres president Rahul Gandhi and his exponents. The Congress president has been alleging that PM Narendra Modi has given ₹30,000 crore to Anil Ambani, which has no relation with truth of the deal. Rahul Gandhi has been making false allegations that the Rafale deal has been taken away from HAL and given to Reliance, when the fact is that Rafale is being fully made in France by Dassault and Anil Ambani’s company is not involved in manufacture of the aircraft.

On 4 January this year, President Rahul Gandhi had shared a News Article by Economic Times, reporting Ericsson’s demand for strict action defaulter RComm. He labelled Anil Ambani, an “international debt master”. He has also called Anil Ambani, a “failed businessman”. However, President Gandhi forgets to add that, in the very case of Anil Ambani has been defended by his party leader Kapil Sibal.

Rahul Gandhi has been attacking government without regards to fact that SC, last year, had vindicated government and had refuted claims of commercial favouritism in the deal. Earlier, Anil Ambani had written a letter and rebutted the allegations that Rahul Gandhi has been levelling against the government and the Reliance group over the deal.

RComm has so far missed two payment deadlines to pay up. Ericsson has asked the court to detain Anil Ambani in civil prison and bar him from travelling outside the country.

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 National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against Reliance Communication and group companies, Reliance Infratel and Reliance Telecom, in September 2017.

Reliance Telecom shut down its mobile phone service in October last year, and later it had signed a deal to sell its assets to pay its dues. But the transaction is not being cleared by DoT, resulting in defaults in payments by the company. Before winding the services, the Company had attempted a merger with Aircel, but that deal was also cancelled due to lack of regulatory approvals.

It is interesting to note while Rahul Gandhi blames the Modi government of favouring Anil Ambani, the reality is completely opposite. The government’s decision ensured that Reliance Telecom had to shut down, and now it is not allowing the sale of its assets to clear its dues. On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi’s own party leader is defending the company in the court.


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