RCom resolution professional seeks status quo on spectrum licences

The resolution professional (RP) of Reliance Communications (RCom) on Thursday moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) seeking the status quo on spectrum licences. 

The RP sought protection from the DoT cancelling its spectrum licences. The tribunal has asked the DoT to file its reply to the petition by September 24, after which the RP can file a rejoinder to DoT’s reply by September 27. The matter will be heard next on September 30.

The spectrum licences are some of the key assets of the Anil Ambani group’s defunct telecom company, which is going through the insolvency process. The DoT had issued a show cause notice to RCom in March 2019 for non-payment of dues on these licences. 

The RP, in apprehension that the DoT may terminate RCom’s licences, moved the tribunal seeking directions to restrain the DoT from taking any such step. The tribunal, however, did not give any interim relief to the firm. The counsel representing the DoT, however, said after the show cause notice, no fresh notices had been issued to company regarding spectrum licences. 

RCom’s insolvency process resumed in May 2019 and so far claims to the tune of Rs 57,382 crore have been raised by financial creditors, of which a little over Rs 49,000 core has been admitted by the RP.  Meanwhile, the RP had moved the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Wednesday, seeking refund of nearly Rs 580 crore from Ericsson India, which the appellate tribunal did not entertain. Instead, the RP was asked to approach the Mumbai Bench of the NCLT.

The RP had approached NCLAT with a plea stating that since RCom was now under the corporate insolvency resolution process, the money that it had given to Ericsson as a part of the settlement deal should now be returned to the company as Ericsson was only an operational creditor.

RCom had paid a sum of Rs 577 crore to the Swedish telecom equipment maker after a Supreme Court (SC) judgment. In February this year, the SC had held Ambani and two top executives guilty of contempt of court for wilfully failing to pay the dues to Ericsson. 

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