New Delhi: Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani appeared before the Supreme Court on Tuesday on a contempt plea by telecom company Ericsson over failure to pay outstanding dues of about Rs 550 crore.
Ambani, who is being represented by Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi, was issued a showcause notice in January and had to respond within five weeks.
The contempt plea was filed by Vishal Garg -- the authorised representative of Ericsson India -- who has contended that RCOM was in breach of top court's August 3, 2018 and October 23, 2018 orders directing it to pay Ericsson Rs 550 crore.
Besides Ambani, the other two respondents in the contempt plea are Satish Seth -- Chairman, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Chhaya Virani -- Chairman, Reliance Infratel Ltd.
RCOM had said last week that it has decided to opt for insolvency proceedings following its failure to sell assets for paying back its lenders. RCom even failed to sell spectrum to Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio, a deal that was expected to bring some relief to the cash-strapped company.
Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson had filed the first petition before National Company Law Tribunal to invoke insolvency proceedings against RCom. The NCLT on the request of RCom had granted it time to clear dues to avoid insolvency proceedings.
It is estimated that RCom has been reeling under debt of over Rs 46,000 crore.
The company had chalked out plans to sell assets for about Rs 25,000 crore and use it for clearing debt of around 40 lenders.
RCom was expecting to realise Rs 975 crore from sale of spectrum to Jio which it promised to use paying dues of Rs 550 crore to Ericsson and Rs 230 crore to settle dues of minority stakeholder Reliance Infratel.
Reliance Jio, however, declined to take over any past liability of RCom for which the Department of Telecom may raise demand in future.