Supreme Court to hear two pleas involving RCom
The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will hear on Monday the two contempt petitions, one filed by Reliance Communications against the department of telecommunications (DoT) and the other by Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson India against RCom’s chairman Anil Ambani.
A bench led by Justice RF Nariman posted the petitions for hearing on Monday after both sides sought urgent hearing.
While RCom has sought to initiate contempt proceedings against the government for failing to grant no objection certificate (NoC) to it to trade its spectrum with Reliance Jio Infocomm, Ericsson India has sought similar proceedings against Anil Ambani for failing to clear dues of `550 crore that RCom owes to the telecom equipment manufacturer.
The apex court had on October 23 given RCom time till December 15 to clear the pending dues of `550 crore to Ericsson India. RCom, through its chairman Anil Ambani, had earlier undertaken to clear the dues of its operational creditor by September 30. Ericsson India had earlier also sought to initiate contempt against Anil Ambani and others for failure to comply with the apex court’s August order.
RCom, in its fresh contempt plea, stated that “the position regarding the unknown liabilities (as and when they fructify) is already clear and the DoT has mischievously raised a controversy about the same. The DoT is well aware that for any unknown liabilities which arise after the date of trading which relate to the period prior to the date of trading, the seller is responsible for which the DoT has the securities given by the petitioner (undertaking given before TDSAT not to alienate certain properties up to `1,400 crore and the corporate guarantee given before the SC)”.
Referring to RJio’s letter of December 14 that sought certain clarifications with respect to the proposed trading transaction under the Guidelines for Trading of Access Spectrum by Access Service Providers of 2015, RCom said that the clarification cannot be linked to the issuance of the NoC to it by the government. “However, to the utter shock of the petitioner (RCom), DoT issued a letter on December 18 stating that it was unable to take on record the proposed trading of spectrum between the petitioner and the buyer in view of the buyer’s letter dated December 14, 2018,” it said.
RCom and Ericsson had on May 30 settled the debt of `1,150 crore for `550 crore which was to be paid within 120 days i.e. by September 30.
The NCLT had on May 15 admitted the insolvency petition filed by Ericsson in lieu of recovering pending dues of `1,150 crore. However, RCom amicably settled the dispute with the Swedish company by offering `550 crore before the tribunal in May.
Ericsson had signed a 7-year deal long back in 2014 to operate and manage RCom’s nationwide telecom network. After RCom failed to pay for its supplies procured from Ericsson, the latter initiated insolvency proceedings against it before NCLT to recover `1,150 crore.