MUMBAI: In a major blow to direct to home (DTH) operator Independent TV, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has asked it to either pay its dues to Antrix Corporation or face disconnection, in a case that was filed by the former in early 2018.
The tribunal has asked Independent TV to pay Rs 9 crore to Antrix by 12 June or furnish a further bank guarantee of Rs 15 crore by that date. In case the DTH operator fails to do that, Antrix reserves the right to effect the impugned disconnection notice.
The matter has been posted to 2 July for further hearing.
In the earlier hearing on 29 May, the tribunal had directed Independent TV to pay Rs 4 crore by 5 June and further Rs 12 crore by 12 June to enjoy continuation of services by Antrix. However, the former filed an application 6 June seeking an urgent order to modify the directions, stating that its current account stands frozen for some reason.
The tribunal disposed of the application saying, “The aforesaid fact that petitioner’s account is frozen, cannot help either the petitioner or the respondent. On that account we are not persuaded to grant any further indulgence to the petitioner.”
It further added, “In the ordinary circumstances, the M.A. No. 161 of 2019 deserves to be rejected summarily but considering that petitioner has admittedly made some considerable investment after it acquired the business of Reliance Big TV from M/s. Reliance Communication Ltd and it claims to be supplying TV signals to large number of DTH consumers, we give last opportunity to the petitioner either to pay Rs 9 crore to respondent no. 1 by 12.6.2019 or furnish a further bank guarantee of Rs 15 crore by that date. In case of default, the respondent will be at liberty to effect the impugned disconnection notice without waiting for any further directions of this tribunal. They would also be at liberty to encash the bank guarantee in the event of default by the petitioner.”
TDSAT has also barred Independent TV from filing any further applications or moving to any other authority to overreach this order and has directed Antrix that it will be free to give effect to the disconnection notice at once on coming to know of such move.