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Industrialist Anil Ambani paid the due with the help of brother Mukesh Ambani that he owed from Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson Rs.462 crore before the supreme court deadline and saved himself from jail on Monday.
Reportedly, lawyer of Anil Ambani's company confirmed to the media that, the dues had been paid. Earlier a month before the top court had ordered Anil Ambani's reliance communications or Rcom and two of its directors to pay Ericsson to pay its dues within four weeks or face a three-month jail term for contempt of court.
In a late-night statement addressed by Anil to his brother and sister-in-law, he said "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."
The statement from Anil, whose businesses in the telecom and power sectors ran into heavy debt over the years, also said that he and his family were "deeply touched" that they had moved "beyond the past".
Whereas, the bench of justices RF Nariman and Vineet Saran had granted an opportunity to Ambani to purge contempt by paying Ericsson the balance amount after deducting the rs.118 crores already deposited in the court. the court went on to add that the default will result in Ambani facing three months imprisonment.
In that hearing, the court had berated the RCom chairman for what it called a "cavalier attitude" and "willful disobedience" of its order to repay Ericcson and fined him and two of his directors Rs. 1 crore each.
The Supreme Court ruled that Rs. 180 crore already deposited by Reliance Group in the court registry be given to Ericsson.
Ericsson India signed a seven-year deal with RCom in 2014 to manage and operate its network. Last year, it went to the Supreme Court against Anil Ambani's company over unpaid dues of Rs. 576.77 crore.
Anil Ambani had told the top court that with the failure of an assets sale deal with older brother Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio, his company had entered insolvency proceedings and was not in control of the funds. The assets sale was stalled after the government refused to provide immunity to Mukesh Ambani's firm from any past-payment liabilities.
RCom had also told the court that it had tried to move "heaven and earth" to ensure Ericsson gets its dues but was unable to do so because of the failed assets sale.
Ericsson had argued before the court that while the Reliance Group had the money to invest in the Rafale jet deal, it had failed to clear its dues, a charge which was vehemently denied by the Anil Ambani-led company.
Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence is one of the offset partners of Dassault, the maker of the Rafale jets for which India and France signed a deal in 2016. The 36-jet contract is at the core of the opposition's allegations of corruption to benefit Anil Ambani; the allegation has been strongly refuted by the government, Reliance and Dassault and the Supreme Court also dismissed calls for an investigation.
On October 23, the court had asked RCom to clear its dues by December 15, warning that delayed payment would mean an interest of 12 percent a year.
The plea by Ericsson had sought that the court directs Anil Ambani and the lender's forum to follow that order and hand over Rs. 550 crores with interest from the assets sale proceeds.
Once India's second-biggest phone carrier, RCom shut down its mobile business in 2017.