July 24, 2019

Department Of Telecom May File Special Leave Petition To Challenge Airtel-Tata Tele Merger In Supreme Court Shortly

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Department of Telecommunications (DoT plans to challenge the merger of Tata Teleservices consumer business with Bharti Airtel in the Supreme Court shortly.

Accordingly, the DoT has not taken the merger on record though Airtel has operationalized it based on an order from the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

In this connection, it may be recalled that on July 1 Bharti Airtel had announced that the consumer mobile business of Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) has become part of its business.

The announcement came after the TDSAT allowed operationalization of the spectrum and to take all consequential actions for completing the merger.

The National Company Law Board (NCLT) had approved the merger and allowed for filing with the Registrar of Companies within the stipulated period.

The confirmation from the Registrar of Companies (RoC) for completion of the merger has also been received by Bharti-Airtel.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal had ordered the Department of Telecommunications to take on record the merger and approval of the schemes of arrangement by Delhi and Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

However, the DoT had asked Bharti Airtel to submit a bank guarantee of around Rs 7,000 crore and an immediate payment of Rs 1,287.97 crore before it takes merger of Airtel and Tata's consumer mobile business (CMB) on record.

On May 2, the TDSAT granted a partial stay on the Rs 8,287 crore demand raised by the DoT from Bharti Airtel for approving its merger with the consumer business of TTSL.

Bharti Airtel submitted only Rs 644 crore as directed by the TDSAT to complete the merger.

As part of the merger, Bharti Airtel had absorbed Tata Teleservices' consumer mobile business operations in 19 telecom circles. It also agreed to take over a small portion of the unpaid spectrum liability of Tata Teleservices.

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