Jio faces setback as SC halts sale of telecom assets of Reliance Communications 

Jio chat for India
Reliance Communications did not receive permission from the Supreme Court that ordered status quo on the sale of Reliance Communications assets to Reliance Jio, PTI reported.

This follows pleas by the consortium of banks that have offered huge funds to the ailing Reliance Communications to halt the sale of Reliance Communications assets to Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Jio, the largest 4G operator in India.

The apex court bench, comprising Justices AK Goel, RF Nariman and UU Lalit, refused to lift the stay ordered by Bombay High Court on Reliance Communications asset sale to Jio.

The New Delhi-based Supreme Court, according to media reports, will hear pleas from the consortium of banks and Reliance Communications against stay of assets sale by the High Court on April 5.

The India-government owned State Bank of India moved the Supreme Court challenging a tribunal’s order, which was upheld by the Bombay High Court, allowing Ericsson to stake a claim on Reliance Communications assets. Ericsson is one of the telecom equipment suppliers to Reliance Communications.

Reliance Communications owes Indian financial lenders Rs 42,000 crore.

SBI, BoB, BoI, Canara Bank, Central Bank of India, PNB, IDBI Bank, UCO Bank, IOB, Dena Bank, Corporation Bank, Union Bank, United Bank, LIC and Barclays Bank are part of the lenders.

The financial lenders had initiated the sale of Reliance Communications assets through an open bidding process.

Reliance Jio agreed to buy spectrum, cell towers and other infrastructure, including 1.78 lakh km of fibre optics line, of Reliance Communications for Rs 17,300 crore. The strategy of the promoters of Reliance Communications was to stop both 2G and 3G services and bail out the ailing telecom venture.

Ericsson, a company based in Sweden, has moved the arbitral tribunal and sought to restrain the sale of Reliance Communications’ assets on the ground that it had a claim of Rs 1,150 crore on the debt-ridden private telecom firm in India.

On March 5, the tribunal gave an order in favour of Ericsson.

On March 8, the high court dismissed the appeal of Reliance Communications against it.

Financial lenders challenged the high court decision and said an unsecured creditor like Ericsson could not steal a march over secured creditors like SBI.