New Delhi: State Bank of India (SBI) on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court to seek approval for the sale of Anil Ambani led-Reliance Communications Ltd’s (RCom’s) assets to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
While RCom allegedly owes Rs45,000 crore to as many as 35 banks, the total dues to SBI as on 28 February stand at Rs4,027 crore.
This comes a day after RCom approached the top court seeking a stay on orders of the Bombay high court and National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) Mumbai bench, barring it from selling its wireless assets to Reliance Jio without prior approval.
The matter will be heard along with RCom’s main petition.
On 8 March, the Bombay high court rejected RCom’s appeal against an order of an arbitration tribunal barring the sale or transfer of its assets without prior permission.
The order was passed in a proceeding initiated by Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson for recovery of Rs1,012 crore of arrears from RCom.
SBI has sought stay of the Bombay high court order and claimed that it was preventing the sale of secured assets and stalling the process of recovery of dues of secured lenders.
Separately, in a plea by HSBC Daisy Investments, which had invested Rs1,100 crore in July 2007 in RCom’s Reliance InfraTel unit, NCLT on 12 March directed it not to sell its towers and fibre assets to Reliance Jio till further orders.
HSBC Daisy Investments along with some minority shareholders in Reliance Infratel had approached NCLT, alleging oppression of minority shareholders for not taking their consent for the asset sale.
Anil Ambani on 26 December said that his company had agreed to a new debt resolution plan that will see RCom sell its assets, and did not entail lenders and bond-holders writing off dues or converting it into equity.
Through this process, he hoped to cut RCom’s debt by Rs39,000 crore from the Rs45,000 crore it owed lenders at the end of October.
The matter will be heard next on 22 March.
Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.