Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson has called for the detainment of Anil Ambani, the chairman of Indian operator Reliance Communications (RCom) for its failure to pay the vendor a settlement fee of INR5.5bn ($78.5m) of unpaid service charges.
Ericsson was forced to file a second contempt of court proceeding against Reliance Communications when they failed to process the outstanding settlement charge. In addition to this, it was further disclosed that the vendor requested in the petition to the Supreme Court that the chairman of Reliance Communications should be barred from leaving the country and be detained in civil prison. It has also been reported that Ambani provided the Supreme Court with a personal guarantee.
However, RCom has also filed a case against the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) claiming that the delays in approving long-planned spectrum sales and auctions had prevented it from being able to pay Ericsson. The court will hear both cases on the 7th of January.
The former mobile operator missed the original payment deadline of 30 September, and then last month the high court rejected its plea to extend a 15 December deadline, which it had also missed. The earlier extension was granted by the court due to a delay in finalising the sale of its assets to Reliance Jio.
Twelve months ago, RCom brokered a deal with Jio to sell off assets including 800MHz spectrum to repay part of its huge debt. DoT later demanded payment of the dues as a condition for approving the agreement, but RCom is disputing the spectrum charge in court.
DoT last month rejected the spectrum deal on the grounds that it goes against trading guidelines after Jio sought assurances it won’t be held responsible for RCom’s past spectrum-related charges, which could total as much as INR29.5 billion.