Anil Ambani’s RCom woes linger: SBI not directed to release tax refunds for repaying Ericsson

By: | Updated: March 15, 2019 6:26 PM

In a fresh setback to Anil Ambani, the NCLAT on Friday refused to direct India’s largest bank SBI to release income tax refund of Rs 260 crore to Reliance Communications.

RNAM: RCap invites Nippon Life to acquire its stake in Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management LtdRCom had asked SBI to release the money to repay Rs 550 crore dues to Swedish equipment maker Ericsson, in order to comply with a Supreme Court order.

In a fresh setback to Anil Ambani, the NCLAT on Friday refused to direct India’s largest bank SBI to release income tax refund of Rs 260 crore to Reliance Communications, CNBC TV18 and ET Now reported. RCom had asked SBI to release the money to repay Rs 550 crore dues to Swedish equipment maker Ericsson, in order to comply with a Supreme Court order.

However, Anil Ambani’s RCom can move Supreme Court, seeking to order SBI to release the funds, as NCLAT said that the apex court holds proper jurisdiction to pass appropriate orders. Since the matter resides with the apex court, NCLAT can not pass any direction in this regard, the report added. The same can only be done after the Supreme Court passes some orders, it noted.

“No direction can be given to any party to perform certain duties to ensure settlement between other parties. As the Supreme Court (SC) is seized of the matter, we are not passing any direction to refund any amount to anyone or other parties till the court passes some orders,” CNBC TV18 reported citing the NCLAT bench.

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The deadline prescribed by the Supreme Court for  repayment of Rs 550 crore to Ericsson by RCom expires on March 19. A failure to repay the due amount will lead to a 3-month jail term for Anil Ambani, it had said in its 20 February order.

RCom had moved the NCLAT, seeking directions to 37 lenders, including lead lender SBI, to release Rs 260 crore that has been refunded by the income tax department directly to Ericsson. The lenders have refused to do so, saying public money can’t be used to settle payment to a private party.

Senior counsel Neeraj Kishen Kaul, appearing for SBI, had argued that the money did not belong to RCom. “RCom should pay Ericsson, but not at our cost,” he had told NCLAT.

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