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Pay Rs 453 crore in 4 weeks or go to jail: SC to Anil Ambani

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday held RCom chairman Anil Ambani and two others guilty of contempt of court for violating its order by not paying dues of Rs 550 crore to Ericsson, and said they faced a three-month jail term if Rs 453 crore was not paid to the telecom equipment maker in four weeks.

The Supreme Court held that the RCom chairman, as well as Reliance Telecom chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel chairperson Chhaya Virani, breached the undertaking given to the apex court and related orders.

The apex court said Ambani and the others will have to purge contempt by paying Rs 453 crore to Ericsson in four weeks.

A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran said if the 'contemnors' failed to make the payments within the specified period, they will undergo a jail term of three months.

Ambani, Seth and Virani were present in the courtroom when the verdict was pronounced.

The apex court also directed Reliance Communication, Reliance Telecommunication and Reliance Infratel to deposit Rs 1 crore each in four weeks to the apex court registry. If not, the chairpersons of these companies will have to undergo additional jail term of one month.

It directed that Rs 118 crore already deposited by Reliance Group in the apex court registry be disbursed to Ericsson within a week.

"From undertakings given by Reliance Group's top brass, it appears they have wilfully not paid the amount to Ericsson despite orders and undertakings given," it said.

The apex court specified that any unconditional apology given by Reliance needs to be rejected as they have breached the undertaking and order.

The bench said the three Reliance companies did not adhere to the 120 days deadline and 60 days extra given by the apex court to pay the Rs 550 crore to Ericsson.

It said the undertakings given in the court were false to the knowledge of the court and affected the administration of justice.

Minutes after pronouncement of the verdict, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Ambani, said he respects the decision of the apex court and expressed confidence that the group will honour the directions on payment of dues to Ericsson.

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