Mukesh Ambani Bails Out Anil, But RCom-Jio Deal Off The Table

A day before the expiry of the Supreme Court-set deadline, elder brother Mukesh Ambani bailed out younger sibling Anil Ambani in paying off Rs 458.77 crore to Ericsson India, thus clearing the outstanding dues and fending-off a possible jail term for the younger brother. The last date of making the payment was March 19.

“The requisite payment of Rs 550 crore and interest thereon to Ericsson has been completed on Monday in compliance of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” an RCom spokesperson said.

While RCom did not state the source of funds for making the payment, it hinted that the help came from the elder brother Mukesh Ambani. “My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support. I and my family are grateful we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply touched with this gesture,” Anil Ambani said in a statement.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the two groups — Rcom and Rjio — called off the deal agreed some 15 months back whereby the spectrum and other infrastructure of the former was to be bought over by the latter.

The deal was called off due to non-receipt of approval from the government and lenders.

An Ericsson spokesperson confirmed that the company had received the full payment from the RCom (`458.7 crore) on Monday and `118 crore previously, PTI reported. The amount paid by RCom also includes interest.

The Supreme Court had on February 20 held Ambani in contempt for not paying Ericsson’s dues despite promising to do so. It had threatened to send him as well as two other directors to jail if they fail to pay the dues in four weeks.

Ericsson had moved a bankruptcy court in 2017 alleging it had not been paid dues of around `1,600 crore after signing a deal in 2013 to operate, maintain and manage the telco’s nationwide network. It extracted a personal guarantee from Ambani to pay the dues.

But repeated failure by RCom to comply with the promise and Ambani’s personal guarantee landed him in trouble last month when the Supreme Court held him in contempt.

Thereafter, it suffered another blow when National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Friday last which refused to free up `260 crore tax refunds withheld by lenders saying it did not have jurisdiction to do so. Banks had opposed release of the tax refunds.

The SC had pulled up Ambani for his “cavalier attitude” demonstrated through the affidavit filed in the court and said any “unconditional apology” given must be rejected.―Financial Express

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