TDSAT directs Den to clear Star India’s dues by 3 October

NEW DELHI: Den Networks Ltd has been directed by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Tribunal (TDSAT) to make full payments to Star India as directed by its order of 14 September.


After hearing counsel for the parties, TDSAT chairman Justice Aftab Alam and members Kuldip Singh and B B Srivastava said, “We are once again of the view that in compliance with the previous order, Den is bound to make payment of the invoiced amounts for the months of June and July 2015. In terms of the DAS agreement, which allows the petitioner to make payment within 15 days of the receipt of the invoice, Den must make payment of the invoiced amounts for  the DAS areas by 3 October.”


The Tribunal also directed Den to give SMS reports to Star India for each month as stipulated in the DAS agreement. Den counsel Meet Malhotra assured the Tribunal that this would be done.


Malhotra stated that apart from Rs 15 crore directed by the previous order, Den had made some more payments to Star India.


“Needless to say Star India will verify the payments as claimed to have been made by Den and those payments will naturally be adjusted against the payment for the invoices in question,” TDSAT said.


On 14 September, Den had been directed to make on-account payment of Rs 15 crore by 18 September towards its dues to Star India. Regarding current monthly fees, Den was directed as follows: “Apart from the payment of the back dues, Den will indeed be obliged to make payment of the current dues of license fee on the basis of the invoices raised by Star India.”

Den made payment of Rs 11.91 crore on 18 September and another payment of Rs 3.09 crore on 21 September and though the payments were not fully in compliance with its order, the Tribunal said, “We consider it a lapse and leave the matter at that.”


As regards payment of the current monthly license fees, on 11 September, Star India issued two invoices; one for the non-DAS areas for the month of September for Rs 4.26 crore and the other for DAS areas (excluding Navi Mumbai) for the months of June and July for the sum of Rs 20.21 crore. According to Den, the two invoices were sent to it through email on 18 September.


The Tribunal rejected Malhotra’s arguments that the invoiced amounts included the increase of 27.5 per cent provided under the TRAI Tariff Order, which was quashed by the Tribunal by Judgment and Order of 28 April. The contention was mainly that since a part of the invoiced amounts is based on increases not sanctioned by law, Den was not liable to make payment of the invoices until reconciliation of accounts underway between the two sides as directed by the Tribunal’s order is completed.


However, the Tribunal made it clear that its rejection of Malhotra’s contention was not final and was subject to the finding arrived at the end of the trial of the matter. 


Meanwhile in another case filed by Mahabhairab Cable Network and other LCOs against Tejpur Cable Networks, the Tribunal said Tejpur will not disconnect the supply of signals to the LCOs. 

Listing the matter for 5 October, it restrained the LCOs being represented in the petition from taking signals from any MSO other than the respondents.

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