RCom had originally requested a 60 day extension to repay the debt as the company struggles to remain in the black

Ericsson has upped the ante in its long running dispute with Reliance Communications’ chairman Anil Ambani, calling on India’s Supreme Court to detain the business magnate until he makes payment of $78 million (550 crore Rupees) owed to the Swedish tech giant. 

In October 2018, Ericson filed its initial contempt petition against Ambani, over the long-standing debt. Reliance Communications (RCom) asked Ericsson for an additional 60 days to make payment of the debt – a request that was flatly refused by the Swedish kit maker.   

Ericsson has now filed a second contempt petition, which calls for Ambani’s detention in a civil prison until payment is made. 

“The fresh application was filed because RCom and others did not comply with the Supreme Court order. We have been waiting for payments for a long time and their default is contempt of court,” senior advocate Anil Kher who is representing Ericsson told The Economic Times of India this week.  

“Under the contempt of court act, if found guilty, this could lead to civil imprisonment, which means jail [for] up to six months," he added. 

Ericsson is seeking immediate payment of the outstanding amount, with interest. However, RCom has been flirting with insolvency proceedings in recent months, as it struggles to manage its debt profile, and any court ordered repayment mandate could push the company closer to insolvency.