In a major setback to Anil Ambani the chairman of Reliance Communications Ltd, the Supreme Court held him guilty of contempt for wilfully violating its order and not paying Rs 550-crore dues to Telecom equipment maker Ericsson.
Headed by Justice R.F Nariman, a bench held that Ambani and two others- Reliance Telecom chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel chairperson Chhaya Virani breached the undertaking given to the apex court and the related orders.
The Apex Court has asked them to pay Rs. 453 crore to Ericsson India within four weeks and failing to make payments within the stipulated time will fetch them three months jail term.
SC has also imposed a fine of Rs. 1 crore to each of them and if not deposited within a span of one month, Ambani and directors of three Reliance companies will be awarded jail time of 1 month.
SC was ruling on Ericsson’s contempt plea against RCom and its chairman Anil Ambani for “willful disobedience" of the court’s earlier orders to pay dues of ₹550 crore to the Swedish telecom equipment maker.
"From the undertakings given by Reliance Group's top brass, it appears they have willfully not paid the amount to Ericsson despite orders," it said.
The apex court specified that any unconditional apology given by Reliance needs to be rejected as they have breached the undertaking and order.
Three contempt petitions were moved against Reliance Communications.
(with PTI inputs)