Anil Ambani to appear in SC in Ericsson contempt case today


Reliance Communications’ chairman Anil Ambani is scheduled to appear in the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning to contest the three contempt cases filed against him by Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson. The chairman of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group last appeared in the Patiala Court over the 2G scam case in 2013 and before that had visited the apex court in 2009 to attend the Krishna-Godavari basin gas case .The battle between Ericsson and RCom has been raging for more than a year over a settlement amount of Rs 550 crore. The debt laden operator has previously missed two deadlines stipulated by SC in September 30 and December 15, which prompted the gear maker to file its first two contempt cases and demand that the telco be pushed back into insolvency. The third contempt petition was filed when RCom decided to file for bankruptcy in the dedicated insolvency court last for a debt resolution programme to sell assets, repay lenders and pare its debt within 270 days.Ericsson has interpreted this move as RCom’s way of wriggling out of a court-mandated Rs 550-crore settlement with the Swedish firm. That is because according to the 2016 bankruptcy rules, operational creditors are not at par with financial creditors who have the first claim over money coming through insolvency proceedings.Ericsson has demanded stringent actions against Ambani for failing to make the payments. One of its options is demanding that all personal assets of chairman Anil Ambani be frozen. RCom which was in the last leg of completing its asset sale to Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) and Canadian asset management company Brookfield for Rs 18,000 crore is now staring at insolvency. The operator with a debt of over Rs 40,000 crore has blamed the telecom department for not granting its approval to the spectrum trade between RCom and Jio in time , which has stalled the asset sale. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in its defense said that the approval will come only if both Jio and RCom agree to take care of any past spectrum liabilities, which the Mukesh Ambani owned telco has refused to agree to. This case is being fought in the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). The battle between Ericsson and RCom is also being played out in the appellate tribunal.