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Clarify status with Star India, TDSAT asks Canara Star

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NEW DELHI: Canara Star Communications Pvt. Ltd Karnataka, which has a long-pending dispute with Star India with regard to payments, has been given one more opportunity by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal to reply to an affidavit of 23 March 2016 by the broadcaster alleging there was no entity of the name of the MSO on the website of the Corporate Affairs Ministry.

Canara Star was given one more week from 20 December 2016 to file its affidavit, and Star India was permitted to respond to the affidavit if it so desired.

Members B B Srivastava and A K Bhargava put up the matter for further hearing on 20 January 2017.

The Tribunal said: “It is seen that the affidavit which has been filed by Canara Star is not prima facie in conformity with the directions given by the Tribunal on 18 December 2015.

Canara Star had originally come before the Tribunal against disconnection notices by Star India as for default in payment. One of the grounds on which the disconnection notice was challenged was that another MSO had started operating in those areas and, as a result, the petitioner’s subscriber base had gone down substantially and the petitioner had been making request for downgradation of its subscriber base and consequently a reduction in the fixed fee payable by it as monthly subscription fee.

As there appeared to be some substance in the petitioner’s grievance, and, on a joint request, the matter was referred to the Mediation Centre. The Tribunal was informed that, before the Mediation Centre could intervene, the parties were able to arrive at some understanding in regard to Kumta and Bhatkal areas but Canara Star was also getting signals from Star India for transmission in the DAS area of Bangalore and there too the MSO happened to be in default in payment of the subscription fees.

Star India wanted a comprehensive settlement that should cover both analogue and digital areas covering Bangalore also.

Canara, which has allegedly sold its business to another MSO called All Digital, was to produce its deed of transfer of establishment to All Digital which was made a party in the petition filed by Star India.

Earlier this year, Canara Star had been asked by the TDSAT to present a payment schedule to Star India to settle their dispute.

However, then chairman Justice Aftab Alam and members -- Kuldip Singh and B B Srivastava accepted the plea by Star India counsel Arjun Natarajan that this schedule should not come in the way of its requirement to furnish a guarantee. Earlier, on 4 February, the Bench had granted a week's time to Canara Star represented by Counsel Tushar Singh, to furnish a guarantee.

In terms of the earlier order of 14 January, the directors of Canara Star were present in person before TDSAT on 29 January.

In the hearing in third week of December, the Tribunal had asked Canara Star to intimate Star India whether it admits the SMS reports submitted by the broadcaster for the period 2014 to January 2015.

The common order by the Tribunal on three petitions including one by Star India against Canara Star claiming recovery dues of around Rs 3 crore pertaining to the MSO’s operations in DAS area of Bangalore said this was subject to the two parties failing to arrive at a final settlement.

Also read:

Canara Star asked by TDSAT to pay Star India Rs 18.91 lakh subject to final outcome of dispute

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