A logo hangs above a Reliance Communications Ltd. shop in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Bloomberg)

RCom Files Contempt Plea Against Telecom Department For Not Allowing Spectrum Sale

Reliance Communications Ltd. filed a second contempt plea against the telecom department for not giving its approval for the sale of its spectrum to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.

In the last hearing on Dec. 14, the Department of Telecommunications had agreed to issue a no-objection certificate within two days. The Supreme Court will hear RCom’s petition on Jan. 7.

The sale of spectrum and towers is crucial for Anil Ambani-led RCom to fend off insolvency proceedings. The company expects to get Rs 18,000 crore from the deal. It owed lenders more than Rs 42,000 crore as of March.

Also read: Legal Hurdles In RCom’s Asset Sale To Reliance Jio

It’s been two years since Reliance Jio agreed to buy the airwaves and towers in December 2017. The deal has been delayed partly because the Department of Telecommunications refused to give its no-objection certificate till the company paid spectrum dues.

The Supreme Court, however, granted RCom a relief by allowing it to furnish a corporate guarantee instead of a bank guarantee to the department. RCom’s subsidiary Reliance Realty then provided a Rs 1,400-crore corporate guarantee against its land.

The telecom department agreed to issue its approval within seven days. When that didn’t happen, RCom filed its first contempt plea.

The department then asked the court to ensure that RCom doesn’t part with its preference shares in Reliance Realty. When Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, which represented the company, gave an assurance, it agreed to issue the no-objection certification in two days. After the department again failed to give its approval, RCom today filed the second contempt petition.

Also read: RCom, Reliance Jio Extend Validity Of Asset Sale Pact To June 28