ESPN files winding up petition against InCableNet

MUMBAI: First was the shut-off. Now the courts have been drawn into the dispute.

A week after ESPN Star Sports (ESS) cut off signals to Hinduja Group MSO INCableNet over outstanding subscription dues it says have crossed Rs 71 million, it today instituted winding up proceedings in the Bombay High Court.

The petition filed before the court states that despite several service agreements in place, INCableNet had consistently failed to pay up on monthly dues and was in admitted default to the tune of Rs 40 million.

A statement issued by ESS says the Bombay High Court has admitted the petition and listed it for hearing on 29 January, 2004.

In the petition, ESS states that it has entered into various service contract(s) with InCableNet to distribute ESPN and Star Sports channels in Mumbai and other cities, which it services. InCableNet was to pay monthly subscription fees. 

However, ESS alleges, InCableNet has failed to make payments towards the subscription fees in accordance with the contract(s). Despite InCableNet's failure to pay the fees, ESS claims to have kept the services on and made bonafide attempts to persuade InCable to discharge their payment obligations.

The petition ends stating, despite several repeated promises and written commitments, InCableNet has backed out of its promise to pay the admitted sum of over Rs 40 million.

On 10 November, ESS had discontinued the signals of its channels ESPN and Star Sports to IIMCL stating that "IIMCL had failed to pay routine monthly dues, despite repeated collection efforts".

ESS Software VP, affiliate sales, Sricharan Iyengar had pointed out earlier this month that they had received a letter from IncableNet CFO Srinivas Palakodeti, who had assured to pay them Rs 30.65 million, the outstanding amount then. This letter was dated 27 August 2003, but ESPN has not yet realised the money.

A response on the issue is awaited from InCableNet.

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