18 September 2019: The NCLAT on Wednesday declined RCom’s resolution professional’s plea seeking refund of Rs 577 crore from Swiss firm Ericsson, and directed the RP to approach the Mumbai-bench of NCLT for the same.
Reliance Communications is presently going through the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process under the supervision of the Mumbai-bench of National Company Law Tribunal.
The RP had filed and interim application with the NCLAT, contending that Ericsson, which is only an operational creditor of the company, should return the money paid by it, as RCom is now under the resolution process.
However, a two-member NCLAT-bench headed by Chairperson Justice S J Mukhopadhaya asked that the RP may raise all arguments for refund of money begfore the NCLT.
It also said that the RP may file appeal before it, in case of adverse order by the NCLT on this issue.
“We are not inclined to take this interim Application…,” said the NCLAT.
RCom had paid a sum of Rs 577 crore to Ericsson India after the Supreme Court had directed it to pay.
In February this year, the apex court held Rcom’s promoter Anil Ambani and two of his top executives guilty of contempt of court for wilfully failing to pay the dues of Ericsson.
On April 30 this year, RCom withdrew the cases, which challenged an NCLT order that allowed insolvency resolution process against the company, from the NCLAT.
RCom in May last year had filed a petition before the NCLAT against the NCLT order on a insolvency plea moved by Ericsson.
The Mumbai-bench of NCLT on May 15, 2018, admitted an insolvency petition filed by Ericsson against RCom and two of its subsidiaries — Reliance Infratel and Reliance Telecom.
The NCLAT on May 30, 2018, had stayed the operations of NCLT orders.
Ericsson India had in September 2017 moved insolvency petitions against RCom, Reliance Telecom, and Reliance Infratel before the NCLT for failing to pay their dues amounting to nearly Rs 1,500 crore.
It is estimated that RCom has been reeling under debt of over Rs 46,000 crore.
The company had chalked out plans to sell assets for about Rs 25,000 crore and use it for clearing debt of around 40 lenders.
RCom was expecting to realise Rs 975 crore from sale of spectrum to Jio which it promised to use paying off dues of Rs 550 crore to Ericsson and Rs 230 crore to settle dues of its minority stakeholder Reliance Infratel.
Reliance Jio, however, declined to take over any past liability of RCom for which the Department of Telecom may raise demand in future.