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After Ericsson’s Contempt Plea Against Anil Ambani, RCom Blames DoT For Its Woes

In its plea, RCom cites its spectrum sale to Reliance Jio could not be completed due to factors beyond its “control”, blaming the DoT for creating hurdles in its spectrum sale to Reliance Jio.

After Swedish equipment maker Ericsson filed a contempt of court petition in the Supreme Court against RCom Chief Anil Ambani, RCom has called the petition “unwarranted”, blaming the Telecom Department for creating hurdles. The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal had granted a “conditional stay” on insolvency proceedings against RCom and its subsidiaries after the company informed it reached at an “amicable settlement” with Ericsson on May 30.

After the 120-deadline expired on September 30, RCom said on September 28 it had sought another 60 days for repayment of Rs 550 crore to Ericsson. The matter will be heard on October 4. In its plea, the company cited its spectrum sale to Reliance Jio could not be completed due to factors beyond its “control”, blaming the DoT for creating delays.

“Ericsson India Private Limited, an unsecured creditor of RCOM, is understood to have filed a Contempt Petition on 1 October 2018 in the Hon’ble Supreme Court in relation to the settlement amount of Rs 550 crore to be paid by RCom. This filing is unwarranted,” RCom said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

RCom said the extension has been sought purely due to the fact that, as approved by 38 secured lenders and as per RCOM’s undertaking Ericsson is to be paid from the sales proceeds of its spectrum sale to Jio. The company said the sale “could not be completed as yet owing to factors beyond the control of RCOM”.

Explaining further, RCom said it filed an application for approval of the spectrum sale with the DoT on August 7. “However, DoT unjustly sought securitisation of alleged demands (which are wholly disputed) for spectrum usage charges amounting to Rs 2,900 crore. This demand of DoT has been challenged by RCom before the Hon’ble Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal,” said the company.

A number of hearings have taken place in the matter since August 28, 2018, and the telecom tribunal announced interim relief on October 1, although the copy of the order passed by TDSAT is still awaited and expected shortly, RCom said.

“RCOM, as duty bound, shall duly abide by such directions and orders as may be passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court upon the matter being heard on October 4, 2018,” it said.

RCom has a total debt of over Rs 46,000 crore. To pare debt, RCom has planned to monetise assets worth Rs 25,000 crore from their sale to Reliance Jio. It had signed a deal to sell its wireless spectrum, tower, fibre and MCN assets to Reliance Jio Infocomm in December 2017. In August, RCom sold optical fibre assets worth Rs 3,000 crore and media convergence nodes (MCNs) and other assets worth Rs 2,000 crore to Jio. – Business Today

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