Regulators

TDSAT directs Star India not to disconnect Bangalore MSO's signals if dues received

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NEW DELHI: Star India has been asked not to disconnect signals to Bangalore multi system operator (MSO) Digi Hanamkonda Network India Ltd if the latter pays a provisional payment of Rs 10.5 lakh within a week as directed by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Tribunal (TDSAY).

 

TDSAT chairman Aftab Alam and members Kuldip Singh and B B Srivastava “made clear that the payment is purely provisional and on account and the rights and liabilities of the parties  will abide by the final adjudication of the petition.”

 

The Tribunal also noted that the previous agreement between the parties had expired more than three months ago. 

 

The MSO was accordingly directed to visit Star India’s Bangalore office in order to execute the renewal of agreement without any further delay, and the matter was put up for hearing by the Tribunal on 30 October.

 

By an order passed on 10 July, the Tribunal had directed the MSO to pay to Star India Rs 4.7 lakh, which was due admitted by the petitioner itself. Subject to that payment, it was understood that the respondent shall not discontinue the supply of its signals.

 

During the time the matter has remained pending before the Tribunal, the respondent’s dues against the petitioner have once again accumulated.

 

According to Star India counsel Saurabh Srivastava, the petitioner is liable to pay to Star a sum of Rs 16.03 lakh as dues upto 31 August.

 

Diggaj Pathak, counsel appearing for the MSO disputes the amount claimed by the respondent as due. 

 

The last interconnect agreement between the parties was executed on 31 January. This agreement is for non-DAS areas and the agreement states the number of subscribers for each of its channels and the specific amounts payable by it for those channels.

 

Pathak however contended that the figures of monthly licence fees mentioned in the agreement were arrived at by factoring in 15 per cent increase in the rates as allowed by the tariff order issued by TRAI, which was set aside by the Tribunal by its judgment and order dated 28 April. 

 

The petitioner is therefore making payment of the monthly licence fee after taking off 15 per cent from the amounts mentioned in the agreement and according to Pathak, the amount of Rs 16.03 lakh as claimed by Star is the differential amount of 15 per cent.

 

Pathak also stated that an earlier payment of Rs 3.74 lakh, made by the petitioner was wrongly credited in the account of another entity called Shri Bhadrakali Communications and that amount too should be deducted from the amount of Rs 16.03 lakh as claimed by Star.

 

The Tribunal felt that the MSO’s claim of deducting of Rs 3.94 lakh from its dues “is rather debatable and we are not fully convinced that the petitioner is entitled to that deduction. Further, we are not satisfied that the amount claimed by Star is not based on the agreement and that it is not payable by the petitioner being the differential amount,” it said.

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