The apex court last year asked the telecom company to pay ?550 crore to the Indian arm of the Swedish firm
In a blow for Reliance Communications Ltd chairman Anil Ambani, the Supreme Court found him, Reliance Telecom Ltd chairman Satish Seth and chairperson of Reliance Infratel Ltd Chhaya Virani, guilty of acting in contempt of the orders of the apex court.
A Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman and Vineet Saran said the three corporate leaders adopted a “cavalier attitude” when it came to the court’s repeated orders to pay back ?550 crore dues to Ericsson India. Ericssion had filed the contempt plea in the apex court.
The Bench dismissed their “unconditional apology” for disobeying the orders of the highest court of the country.
It said the undertakings given by the three contemnors were “false to the knowledge” of the court and affected the administration of justice.
The judgment said the contemnors “willfully” did not pay the money it owed Ericsson and “breached the undertaking given to the Supreme Court”.
It said that statements made by the contemnors that no advantage was taken was “fully incorrect”.
The apex court ordered RCom to “purge” the contempt by paying the remaining ?453 crore of ?550 crore due to Ericsson within the next four weeks. If not, the contemnors would face jail for three months.
The court asked the Supreme Court Registry to hand over the ?118 crore already deposited by the contemnors to Ericsson.
The court further ordered the three Reliance group companies involved to pay ?1 crore each to the Supreme Court’s legal services authority. If not, their chairmen would face one month in jail.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Mr. Ambani, told the court “we respect the judgment. We will honour it”.