Idea in Delhi HC against TRAI’s Rs 950 cr fine imposition

Idea in Delhi HC against TRAI's Rs 950 cr fine imposition
Idea in Delhi HC against TRAI’s Rs 950 cr fine imposition

Idea Cellular today moved Delhi High Court against TRAI’s recommendation to impose penalty of Rs 950 crore on the telecom firm for allegedly not providing interconnection to Reliance Jio (RJIO), even as DoT said the plea was premature.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) claimed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal that Idea’s petition was not maintainable as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had only given a recommendation.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for DoT, opposed maintainability of the plea, saying it was premature since no action had been taken yet on the telecom regulator’s October 21, 2016 recommendation.

He said once DoT takes a decision, it could be an appealable order only then.

The bench, thereafter, issued notice to TRAI and DoT and asked them to file affidavits on the issue of maintainability of Idea’s plea before the next date of hearing on February 21.

Idea, in its plea, has claimed that it has complied with and met the requirements of RJIO for points of interconnections (PoIs).

It has said that as of January 19 this year, it has allocated 19,175 PoIs to RJIO and contended that congestion and call failures were a consequence of RJIO’s “gross underestimation” of the volume, traffic and duration of calls on its network due to its free voice calls and data offer.

In its plea, Idea has also contended that there is inconsistency between TRAI’s Interconnection Regulations and Quality of Service Regulations.

In December last year, Vodafone had challenged TRAI’s recommendation to DoT to impose Rs 1050 crore penalty on it on RJIO’s complaint.

Vodafone had contended in its plea that TRAI did not have the power to recommend imposition of penalty and can only recommend revocation of licence for breach of licence conditions.

The matter is pending before another bench of the high court where the DoT and TRAI have contended that the plea was not maintainable.

TRAI had recommended imposition of Rs 50 crore penalty per circle on Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, which came to Rs 1050 crore each on the first two for their 21 circles and Rs 950 crore on the third for 19 circles.

The regulatory authority was of the view that denial of interconnection by existing operators like Airtel, Idea and Vodafone, to RJIO “appears to be with the ulterior motive to stifle competition and is anti-consumer”.

( Source – PTI )

2G: High Court asks Centre to respond to Essar”s plea

The Delhi High Court asked the Centre  to respond to the pleas of Essar Teleholdings Ltd and its promoters, Ravi and Anshuman Ruia, for quashing of the charges framed against them in a case linked to the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Notice has been issued by Justice AK Pathak to the Ministry of Law, the CBI and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), seeking their replies to the petitions of the telecom major and its two promoters against a lower court order on framing of charges against them for their trial in the case.

The court issued notices to the Law Ministry and the DoT, rejecting their contentions that the same cannot be issued against them as they were not the parties to the case.

Appearing for the telecom firm, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi argued that DoT and the Law Ministry too be asked to respond to the petition as it is the case of the CBI that the company had cheated the DoT.

Rohatgi elaborated on his submission saying it was the Law Ministry which had opined that no case was made out against the telecom firm.

“If I have cheated something from DoT, let them file an affidavit that they have been cheated”

The telecom firm also sought to distinguish its case from those against the other accused in the 2G scam saying “we have a better case than the others as there is no Prevention of Corruption Act invoked against us.”

The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on January 22, 2013.

The telecom firm and its promoters have moved the high court against the May 25 order of the Special CBI court which had framed charges against the Ruias and Essar Teleholdings Ltd and also Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikas Saraf.

Besides, Ruias, Essar Teleholdings Ltd, the court had also framed charges against companies – Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and their promoters Kiran Khaitan and her husband I P Khaitan under section 120 B read with 420 IPC.

2G trial judge can’t hear cheating case: Telecom firm

A telecom company’s counsel told the Supreme Court Wednesday that the special Delhi court conducting the trial of 2G cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act could not take up the cases against Essar Teleholdings Ltd. and Loop Telecom Ltd, who have been booked for cheating.

An apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya was told by senior counsel Harish Salve, who appeared for Essar Teleholding Ltd., that the cheating charge against the two telecom operators were not part of the same transaction in which former communications minister A. Raja and officials were charged under the anti-corruption law.

Salve drew the attention of the court to the first sentence of the government notification constituting the trial court which said that in exercise of the power conferred under the Prevention of Corruption Act the trial of all the cases in the 2G matter would be carried out by the court of special judge.

If in the course of the investigation of a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, another offence surfaced, which was unrelated to the corruption matter under probe and attracted proceedings under penal provisions for cheating, then it could not be tried by the court of special judge constituted under anti-corruption law, Salve told the court.

Justice Mukhopadhaya pointed out that the high court in its order said that the special judge would deal with all the cases relating to 2G as on that date.

Salve said that that high court could not have passed such an administrative order and it had to be a judicial order after hearing all the parties in the case.

The senior counsel cited earlier judgment of the apex court in support of his contention that Special Judge O.P. Saini could not have taken the cognizance of the cheating charges under the Indian Penal Code against his client. The cheating charges could be tried in a magistrate court.

Salve told this to the court in the course of the hearing of the impugned order the high court by which it said that in view of the Supreme Court orders of Feb 10, 2011 and April 11, 2011, it would be appropriate for the parties to seek clarification from the apex court.