Anil has money to invest in Rafale but can’t clear dues: Ericsson

Chennai: Telecom equipment maker Ericsson India has hit out hard on Anil Ambani, stating that the Reliance Group has money to invest in the Rafale jet deal but were unable to clear its Rs 550 crore dues. The charge was vehemently denied by the Anil Ambani-led company.

Ericsson said the above at the Supreme Court which is hearing the case between the two entities. Responding to that, Anil Ambani told the top court that with the failure of its assets sale deal with elder brother Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio, his company has entered insolvency proceedings and is not in control of the funds.

Reliance Communications (RCom) told the court they had tried to move ‘heaven and earth’ to ensure Ericsson gets its due but was unable to do so due to failure of assets sale deal with Jio.

Ambani, Reliance Telecom chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel chairperson Chhaya Virani, were present in the courtroom for two consecutive days in pursuance of contempt notice against them.

A bench of justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran, after hearing the arguments of all parties, reserved its verdict on three contempt applications filed by Ericsson against Ambani, Seth, Virani and chairman of State Bank of India for not clearing its dues.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Ericsson, demanded the court order forensic audit of Reliance and other companies to unveil the alleged fraud committed by them.

“They have money to invest in Rafale but cannot pay us our Rs 550 crore dues. They do not want to commit to the undertaking given to the Supreme Court. Somebody, who cannot pay Rs 550 crore to us is there in every conceivable deal,” Dave said.

Referring to RCom’s statements made to the stock exchange on 23 August last year, about the sale of assets to Reliance Jio for around Rs 5,000 crore, Dave alleged RCom’s stock prices rose by two per cent in a single day which totalled thousands of crores, but the company had not bothered to pay Rs 550 crore to Ericsson.

“Now, they claim that they did not receive any money from deal mentioned in 23 August last year statement to the stock exchange. May be the gentleman has sold the assets without payment to his elder brother. But we don’t know how much shares they sold by the evening after the stock prices rose by two per cent,” he alleged.

Dave alleged these are a kind of scams and even the joint lenders forum led by SBI and the banks have acted in conspiracy to protect Anil Ambani.

“We (Ericsson) have come to India to do business. We brought latest technology to Indian market. We are operational creditors. If banks keep protecting them then how can we do business. They fly in private jets and live in mega houses but they cannot return me Rs 550 crore. This is impacting us,” he said and sought direction to SBI chairman to disclose on oath about the money received by RCom from assets sale.

Ericsson claimed RCom committed gross and wilful contempt by violating two orders of the apex court and not committing to the undertakings given by directors and Ambani.

We tried our best
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Anil Ambani, said there was no violation of the undertakings given in the top court and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal and there was no willful defiance of any order.

He said NCLAT order of 30 May last year was conditional which said, if RCom fails to pay Rs 550 crore in 120 days to Ericsson then the insolvency proceedings would start automatically.

“The payment of Rs 550 crore to Ericsson was subject to sale of assets to Reliance Jio. There was a deal with Jio for sale of assets for Rs 18,000 crore which includes Rs 5,000 mentioned in the statements given to stock exchange. This deal did not took off with Jio,” he said.

Rohatgi said RCom tried its best to make the deal happen but unfortunately talks failed in the apex court itself when Jio refused to take its past liability.

NT Bureau