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Breaking: SC Holds Anil Ambani Guilty Of Contempt; No Jail If Reliance Pays Ericsson Rs 453 Crores In 4 Weeks [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
20 Feb 2019 5:14 AM GMT
Breaking: SC Holds Anil Ambani Guilty Of Contempt; No Jail If Reliance Pays Ericsson Rs 453 Crores In 4 Weeks [Read Judgment]
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The Supreme Court bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran has held Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Communications, guilty of contempt of court for defaulting payments to Ericsson as per the undertaking given to the Court.The three Reliance Companies - RCom, Reliance Telecom and Reliance InfraTel- are also held guilty of contempt, and fine of Rs One Crore each has been imposed on...

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The Supreme Court bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran has held Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Communications, guilty of contempt of court for defaulting payments to Ericsson as per the undertaking given to the Court.

The three Reliance Companies - RCom, Reliance Telecom and Reliance InfraTel- are also held guilty of contempt, and fine of Rs One Crore each has been imposed on them.

The Court however has given an opportunity to Reliance companies to purge contempt by paying Rs.453 crores to Ericsson within 4 weeks, failing which Anil Ambani will be sent to prison for three months.

The contempt petitions have been filed alleging that Reliance companies violated the undertaking made before court to pay off debts due to Ericsson worth Rs 550 crores. The company has missed the two deadlines of September 30 and December 15, leading to the filing of two contempt petitions.

The Swedish gear-maker has alleged that Reliance group has "wilfully and consciously" defied the order dated August 3 of the top court and the undertaking given before it to pay up by September-end. The apex court had on October 23 had given one last opportunity to RCom for clearing the settlement amount, by setting December 15 as the deadline. When this deadline was also missed, the SC issued contempt notice to Ambani on January 6. The bench was not prepared to accept the offer of part-settlement made by RCom for Rs. 118 crores.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for Ericsson submitted last week that Reliance have money to pay Rafale, but not to clear off Ericsson's dues.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ambani and officials, denied any contemptuous behaviour on the part of his clients. He said that the commitment was made by the company, and therefore individual liability cannot be fastened on the Chairman and officials. Also, the undertaking was not unconditional; it was conditional on the deal between RCom and Jio falling through. Since the deal could not be finalised due to objection by Department of Telecommunications, the condition in the undertaking was not fulfilled, said Rohatgi.

Ambani was present in Court on February 11 and 12, along with Reliance Telecom Ltd Chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel Ltd Chairperson Chhaya Virani, in response to the contempt notice.

Meanwhile, another controversy had occurred, when the order issued by Court on January 7 requiring personal presence of Ambani and other officers was found to be tampered with. 

Though the bench had specifically made it clear that personal appearance is not dispensed with, the copy of the order uploaded in the official website of the top court stated personal appearance is dispensed with.

This led to an internal enquiry, resulting in the summary dismissal of summarily dismissed two court masters, Manav Sharma and Tapan Kumar Chakraborty

Read the Judgment Here


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