Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Ericsson, told a bench of Justices RF Nariman and Vineet Saran that the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group must be treated as one entity and the group should be liable to pay liabilities of RCom.
“He has money to invest in Rafale. But he does not want to honour the commitment given to the court (to refund Rs 550 cr),” he said.Dave said RCom had, in its communication to the stock exchange in August 2018, said it had sealed the deal worth of Rs 5,000 crore with Jio to sell its fibre and other infrastructure and its share price shot up by 3% on that day. He said the deal is in addition of Rs 18,100 crore deal with Jio to sell spectrum and mobile towers.
“It is very unfortunate that an extraordinary citizen can take the court for ride. From day one, they did not want to comply with the undertaking given to the court. You have personal assets worth thousands of crores and you have to fulfil the undertaking. They live like emperors but not willing to honour the undertaking,” Dave said. He said the group had the money as it had offered to pay it on the condition that Ericsson withdrew the contempt petition. He said the lender banks were hand-in-glove to protect Anil Ambani’s company.
Ambani said that his failure to refund Rs 550 crore to Ericsson did not constitute contempt as his commitment to make the payment to the Swedish company was contingent upon the Rs 18,100 crore deal he was negotiating with his elder brother Mukesh Ambani‘s Jio, which failed to fructify.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Anil Ambani, said RCom did not receive Rs 5,000 crore from Jio as submitted by Ericsson and got only Rs 780 crore which was utilised by lenders to pay to the department of telecommunication (DoT) to save the telecom licence of the company. “The amount was deposited in an escrow account maintained by 46 lenders led by SBI. This is the only amount which came from Jio and the lenders had given the money to DoT. I am caught between the devil and deep sea. I am nowhere today,” Rohatgi said.
The SC reserved its verdict after four-hour hearing.