TDSAT sets aside Rs. 50 crore penalty imposed on Bharti Airtel
By Parvina Purkayastha - Thu Sep 27, 12:36 pm
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The telecom tribunal TDSAT today set aside Rs. 50 crore penalty imposed by the DoT on Bharti Airtel for allegedly camouflaging calling-line identification (CLI) in MP circle, saying it should have allowed the private operator to present its side of the case.
However, the TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha also said the conduct of Airtel in this entire episode was “not free from of any blemish“.
“While the impugned demand cannot be upheld on the ground stated herein before, there cannot be any doubt that the conduct of the Bharti Airtel is not free from any blemish,” said TDSAT while asking DoT to refund Airtel’s Rs. 50 crore without any interest.
If DoT does not return the amount within four weeks then it would have to pay 12 per cent interest, the tribunal said.
TDSAT said it was “of the opinion that it would be necessary that the Airtel is given an opportunity of hearing by the DoT“.
Airtel has set up a call centre in Indore for making business promotion calls to non-Airtel mobile customers during implementation of Mobile Number Portability (MNP).
“However, when the said calls were generated, the record of the called party was showing its own number instead and in place of party A i.e. calling party number, the one of the called party (B party) was showing“, the order paper said.
The TDSAT bench said that it was “of the opinion that the Bharti Airtel should be given a notice to show cause” and this “aspect of the matter cannot also be ignored” by the government.
It further said that “TERM cell in its correspondences categorically proceeded on the basis that the Petitioner is guilty of originating camouflaged calls.
“If it was so pre-determined, TERM cell could not have been expected to be acting neutrally while adjudicating the issue namely as to whether there is a technical glitch or not,” said TDSAT.
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