In an embarrassing development, the Swedish mobile company Ericsson has approached the Supreme Court to prevent Anil Ambani and two senior executives from his company from leaving India.
In its contempt petition against Reliance Communications, the Swedish company accused Anil Ambani of willfully defaulting on previously- promised payment of Rs 550 crore by alleged abuse of process of law, reported Times of India.
Accusing Anil Ambani and his company of having abused the process of law, Ericsson said that they had no respect for the judiciary. The Swedish company argued that they needed to be stopped from leaving India to ensure the ‘ends of justice.’
Ericsson is wary of Anil Ambani following the footsteps of Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi, all of whom fled India after having defaulted on bank loans.
Taking a potshot at the junior Ambani, Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Modi’s Operandi for handing out India’s biggest defence contracts: 1. Be a defaulter of 45,000Cr. 2. Owe money to other companies who beg Supreme Court not to let you leave India. 3. Be called ‘Bhai’ by PM but have no relevant experience.”
This was after Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications on Tuesday sought another 60 days of relief to repay of Rs 550 crore to Ericsson, as its spectrum sale could not be completed due to factors beyond its control.
“Ericsson India Private Limited (‘Ericsson’), an unsecured creditor of RCOM, is understood to have filed a Contempt Petition on October 1, 2018 in the Hon’ble Supreme Court in relation to the settlement amount of Rs 550 crore to be paid by RCom. This filing is unwarranted,” Reliance informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Reliance Communications also informed the BSE that it had already filed an application on 28 September in the apex court seeking extension of time for making payment to the Swedish telecom equipment maker, by 60 days.
Explaining its position on its failure to pay off the dues, RCom said that the extension had been sought ‘purely due to the fact that, as approved by 38 secured lenders, and as per RCOM’s undertaking, Ericsson is to be paid from the sales proceeds of spectrum being traded by RCom.’ It further added that the sale could not be completed as yet owing to factors beyond the control of RCOM.
RCom said that it had filed an application for approval of the said sale with the Department of Telecommunications on 7 August , 2018, but the latter ‘unjustly sought securitization of alleged demands (which are wholly disputed) for Spectrum Usage Charges amounting to Rs 2,900 crore,’ reported PTI.
Ericsson had earlier agreed to bring down its dues, expected to be paid by Anil Ambani, from Rs 1600 crore to Rs 550 crore as part of a court-monitored settlement. Anil Ambani’s company has a debt running to the tune of Rs 45,000 crore.
Ambani is also at the centre of a raging controversy surrounding the Rafale scam, which was brought to light by Janta Ka Reporter last year. Former French President Francois Hollande had recently dropped a bombshell by revealing that the Indian government had pushed Anil Ambani’s name to be the Indian offset partner of Dassault Aviation. This was allegedly to help Ambani bail himself out from the bankruptcy.