August 29, 2019

DoT To Move SC Against TDSAT Order Staying Its Demand On Airtel, Tata Teleservices’ Rs 7,000-Crore Bank Guarantee

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to move the Supreme Court challenging a TDSAT order which had stayed its demands from Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices for bank guarantees of more than Rs 7,000 crore before approving their merger.

The DoT received legal legal clearance to do so from the Assistant Solicitor General’s office, which stated that in its opinion, the dues from telecom carriers should be demanded.

Effectively that would mean challenging the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal’s (TDSAT) order which had allowed the telecom carriers to utilize airwaves and asked DoT to approve the merger.

Earlier the TDSAT had partially stayed DoT’s demand for around Rs 8,300 crore in bank guarantees in one-time spectrum charges (OTSC) on the grounds that similar demands have been stayed in other merger cases in the industry by courts, including the Bombay High Court.

The TDSAT had asked DoT to take on record the merger of Bharti Airtel Ltd and Bharti Hexacom Ltd with the de-merged consumer mobile services business of Tata Teleservices.

The tribunal had asked Airtel to submit half of the Rs 1,287.97-crore demand raised by DoT as OTSC for Chennai circle licence extension from November 30, 2014, to September 27, 2021.

However, it allowed the merging companies to “operationalixe the spectrum and undertake other consequential activities”.

The merger on July 1 was operationalized by both companies, in line with the TDSAT order, and the Registrar of Companies (RoC) took the merger on record, even before the DoT could request it against doing so.

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