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TDSAT directs Induslnd to pay Rs 26.55 crore to Taj TV subject to verification of March payment

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NEW DELHl: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal has directed IndusInd Media & Communications Ltd to pay at least the minimum Rs.26,55,14,607 demanded by Taj TV subject to verification of payments made in March. Consequently, Indusind Counsel Vandana D Jaisingh handed over to Taj TV counsel Tejveer Singh Bhatia, four cheques amounting to Rs.10 crores.

Chairman Justice Aftab Alam and member B B Srivastava directed Indusind to pay the balance amount of Rs.16,55,14,607 subject to verification of the amount paid by it in the month of March 2016.  

The cheques would be dated 31 March but Bhatia said that they would be presented for encashment before the bank only in the first week of May. Apart from this payment, Indusind was liable to make payment for the month of April subject to any special discount, if any, in terms of the agreement.

At the outset, the Tribunal noted that during the pendency of the petition, the two sides had executed a memo of understanding (MOU) on 30 March covering the period 01 April 2015 to 31 March 2016, that is to say, the period when there was no agreement between the parties and Indusind continued to receive signals from Taj TV.

But the Tribunal noted that: “It is ironical that having executed the agreement on 30 March, the parties are once again in dispute in regard to the Indusind’s liability for payment under the MoU.”

On a prima facie reading, the MoU crystallised Indusind’s liability up to 31 January 2016 at the sum of Rs.43,61,34,240. Beyond 31 January, the monthly subscription fees for both Taj and Turner TV channels for the months of February and March 2016 came to Rs.15,41,74,250 (at the rate of Rs.7,70,87,125 for each month for Taj and Turner TV channels).  Thus, the total liability of Indusind up to 31 March.came to Rs.44,59,15,007 but taking into account certain payments made by it in the month of March, the liability went down to Rs.43,61,34,240.

Indusind also claimed certain deductions in terms of the special discount given by the respondent after the execution of the agreement. Indusind further claimed certain deductions on account of TDS.

Bhatia submitted before the Tribunal a chart that took into account the special discounts and on a deduction made for the same and Indusind’s liability further went down to Rs.26,55,14,607.

According to this chart, the collection received from Indusind in March 2016 amounted to Rs.9,97,80,767 but Jaisingh, wanted to verify the correctness of this figure as she said the payment made by Indusind in March 2016 could be a little more than the figure shown in Bhatia’s chart.

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