RCom Part-Pays Rs 131 Cr, Gets Four Weeks To Respond Ericsson’s Contempt Plea

RCom Monday said the Supreme Court has granted it four weeks of time to respond to Ericsson’s contempt petition. The contempt petition filed by the Swedish telecom major has requested the apex court to detain RCom Chairman Anil Ambani under civil law. The petition has also sought orders from the court asking it to not allow Ambani to leave the country.

In a hearing today, the court also asked Ericsson to send its rejoinder within one week after RCom offers its response on the said contempt plea.

The telecom operator that has already closed its wireless business said the it had made a partial payment of Rs 131 crore to the Swedish firm. The total payment due is Rs 550 crore.

The firm said it is taking all due steps to settle the case as early as possible and will pay the whole amount from its proposed asset sale to Reliance Jio.

“RCom has taken all required steps towards enabling the settlement and remains fully committed to make the payment to Ericsson from the proceeds of the Spectrum sale,” the operator said in a statement.

The Anil Ambani-led firm owes Rs 550 crore to Ericsson and the operator has already missed two deadline set by the apex court to make the payment. The first deadline was in September 2018 and when RCom missed this Ericsson filed a contempt petition against the operator. The apex court then gave time till 15 December to make the payment. RCom missed that. too.

The Junior Ambani, however, had given a personal guarantee to the court to make the payment once its assets sale to Jio is completed. On the other hand DoT has not given its approval for this deal.

RCom, in this regard, has also filed a contempt petition against the DoT for not complying to the Supreme Court’s order to approve the deal.

Separately, DoT has not approved the deal yet as Jio, the proposed buyer, is not ready to offer any undertaking for any due that may appear after the asset sale. The DoT, however, wants no ambiguity in the deal and demands that all the creditors’ money should be taken care of by the operator.

RCom has a debt of Rs 46,000 crore, including Ericsson’s Rs 550 crore, and the operator wishes to lower the debt by Rs 18,000 crore from selling some of its assets to Jio as well as Canadian firm Brookefield.

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