SC tells RCom, Reliance Jio to maintain status quo on asset sale plan

New Delhi: Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (Rcom) is likely to miss the 31 March deadline to sell its wireless assets to Mukesh Ambani-backed Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd to pay off RCom’s lenders as the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the companies to maintain status quo on their Rs25,000 crore asset sale until the next hearing.

The matter was brought before a three-judge bench headed by justice A.K. Goel, who will hear the case on 5 April. The firms have been asked to file their written submissions by 28 March.

The court had initially suggested sending the matter back to the Bombay high court, which was opposed by both State Bank of India (SBI) and RCom.

“The value of the asset in consideration, i.e., spectrum is deteriorating by the day,” Tushar Mehta, counsel for SBI, told the court.

“As legally advised, RCom remains confident that its asset monetization programme will be completed expeditiously to protect the interests of its secured lenders, much in advance of the time limit of 31 August 2018 prescribed by the RBI for resolution of such cases,” a spokesperson for RCom said.

SBI had moved the apex court on 20 March, seeking approval for the sale of RCom’s assets to Reliance Jio.

While RCom owes Rs45,000 crore to its lenders, total dues to SBI as on 28 February stood at Rs4,027 crore.

SBI was preceded by RCom, which approached the top court on 19 March seeking a stay on orders of the Bombay high court and the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) Mumbai bench, barring it from selling its wireless assets to Reliance Jio without prior approval.

On 8 March, the high court had rejected RCom’s appeal against an order of an arbitration tribunal barring the sale or transfer of its assets without prior permission.livemint

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