New Delhi: Reliance Communications Monday said it has deposited 131 crore with the Supreme Court registry as part payment of the total dues of 550 crore that the company owes to Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson.

The development comes after the apex court’s direction asking RCom to make part payment in response to contempt of court petition filed by Ericsson against Anil Ambani and two others.

“RCom has deposited a partial payment of 131 crore to Ericsson with the Supreme Court registry, from the operational funds available with the company," RCom spokesperson said in a statement.

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to RCom Chairman Anil Ambani and others on a contempt petition filed by Ericsson India Pvt Ltd over non-payment of its dues of 550 crore.

A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman sought a response from Ambani and others in four weeks.

Besides seeking contempt proceedings against RCom chairman and two others, Ericsson also sought that they be “detained in civil prison" unless they make the payment.

Ericsson also sought directions from the Ministry of Home Affairs to prevent Ambani, Reliance Telecom Chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel Chairperson Chhaya Virani from leaving the country.

The apex court on October 23 gave one last opportunity to RCom for clearing the settlement amount.

The court also said Ericsson could revive its contempt plea against Reliance if the amount is not paid by December 15, 2018.

In its first contempt plea, Ericsson had sought action against Ambani and others for failing to pay 550 crore towards settlement to the company by the end of September 2018 The company had alleged that RCom has “wilfully and consciously" defied the order dated August 3 of the top court and the undertaking given before it to pay up by September-end.

Ericsson India, which signed a seven-year deal in 2014 to operate and manage RCom’s nationwide telecom network, had alleged that it had not been paid the dues of over 1,500 crore and challenged the debt-ridden firm before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).

The top court had perused the May 30 last year interim order of the NCLAT and noted that Ericsson India was willing to settle its debt of over 1,500 crore for a sum of 550 crore which was to be paid by RCom within 120 days.

It on August 3 last year allowed RCom to sell assets covering spectrum, fibre, telecom towers and certain real estate assets for an aggregate value of about 25,000 crore.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed)

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