Monday, May 23, 2022

Ericsson may have to refund the Rs 550 cr it got from RCom: NCLAT

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PW Bureau

The NCLAT is hearing a plea filed by RCom in which it has asked the tribunal to initiate insolvency proceedings against the company as it was unable to pay its lenders

New Delhi: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has said that Ericsson may have to refund all of the Rs 550 crores it got from Reliance Communications (RCom) if the stay placed by NCLAT on May 30 last year is vacated by it.

A two-judge bench led by Chairperson Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya noted, “Why should one party get it and why should banks suffer? Why should the Indian economy suffer.” The NCLAT would either quash the bankruptcy proceedings against RCom or allow it to proceed as per law. The NCLAT is hearing a plea filed by RCom in which it has asked the tribunal to initiate insolvency proceedings against the company as it was unable to pay its lenders.

Next date of hearing is April 30

During the hearing on Monday, the NCLAT asked the parties to file an affidavit stating if they had challenged the NCLAT’s stay order of May on RCom’s insolvency in the Supreme Court. The next date for the hearing is April 30. On that day, the tribunal would consider the Department of Telecom’s (DoT’s) reply to RCom’s plea challenging the department’s show cause notice to the company for failing to pay spectrum charges.

The duel

In its plea, RCom has said that the insolvency proceedings against it should be allowed to restart as it had paid Rs 453 crore to Ericsson India Private Limited, as per the directions of the Supreme Court. Ericsson India, on the other hand, has opposed the plea and has sought its disposal saying that it had already reached an agreement with RCom and had received the said amount.

On the last hearing, the NCLAT had stayed any action on DoT’s notice to RCom, until further orders. The two-judge bench had also stayed the operation of a DoT letter, dated March 20, in which it had asked Axis Bank to encash a bank guarantee of Rs 2,000 crore by the Anil Ambani group firm.

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