The Supreme Court on Wednesday held Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani and two other directors guilty of contempt for not willfully paying dues worth Rs 550 crore to the Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson. According to a PTI report, they faced a three-month jail term if the remaining Rs 453 crore is not paid to Ericsson in four weeks time.
Along with Ambani, Reliance Telecom chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel chairperson Chhaya Virani were held for breaching the undertaking given to the apex court and related orders.
The apex court also directed Reliance Communication, Reliance Telecommunication and Reliance Infratel to deposit Rs 1 crore each in four weeks to the apex court registry. If not, the chairpersons of these companies will have to undergo an additional jail term of one month.
It directed that Rs 118 crore already deposited by Reliance Group in the apex court registry be disbursed to Ericsson within a week.
Ambani, Seth, and Virani were present in the courtroom when the verdict was pronounced.
"From undertakings given by Reliance Group's top brass, it appears they have willfully not paid the amount to Ericsson despite orders and undertakings given," 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. The bench said the three Reliance companies did not adhere to the 120 days deadline and 60 days extra given by the apex court to pay the Rs 550 crore to Ericsson. It said the undertakings given in the court were false to the knowledge of the court and affected the administration of justice.
Inputs from PTI