TDSAT gives Star India option to stop signals to Skynet Digital Services

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Tribunal (TDSAT) has given Star India the option to stop its signals to multi-system operator (MSO) Skynet Digital Services, noting that it "cannot shut its eyes and let the MSO further indulge in illegal activities."

TDSAT chairman Aftab Alam and members Kuldip Singh and B B Srivastava based their order on an audit report by the Broadcast Engineering Consultants (India) Ltd, which had said the MSO was indulging in illegal activities. 

The Tribunal said it could not shut its eyes on this aspect when the report had come from an "impeccable" source like BECIL, when Skynet counsel offered to rectify the situation and get a fresh audit done.

However, it gave time to Skynet to file its reply to the report within four weeks and set the case for hearing on 5 August.

BECIL in its report had said Skynet was "re-transmitting TV channels in un-encrypted mode and un-authorisedly supplying its signals to another entity M/s Silverline Entertainment after the supply of signals to it has been stopped by Star."

Earlier, Skynet had challenged the disconnection notice issued by Star under clause 6.1 of the Digital Addressable System (DAS) regulations. TDSAT had disposed the case on 23 April this year stating that the two sides should execute the agreement for the period 1 April, 2014 to 31 October, 2014 at the rate of Rs 40 per CPS. Star may conduct a technical audit of the petitioner’s system and raise its invoices for the aforesaid period at the indicated rate.

However, Star later filed an application making serious allegations against Skynet, after which the Tribunal on 25 May directed a technical audit by BECIL. 

BECIL has said Skynet’s system is not compliant with the statutory regulations. Moreover, the report endorses the allegations made by Star and records highly damaging findings against the petitioner. 

The Tribunal noted that in light of these findings by BECIL, Skynet had made itself liable not only to pay damages to Star but also to face criminal proceedings.

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