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Reliance violated licence, misrepresented facts: Govt

Source: PTI
February 04, 2005 18:15 IST
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The government has accused Reliance Infocomm of violating the licence by illegally routing international calls as local ones to avoid payment of levies to public sector telecom units and alleged that the private operator had misrepresented the facts.

Commenting on the response of Infocomm, headed by Mukesh Ambani, to the notice of Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.50 billion) penalty imposed on it by the Department of Telecom, the government said in its counter affidavit in the appellate telecom tribunal (TDSAT) that the reply by the private operator 'established the intentions of the petitioners to continue its deceptions for as long as possible.'

The counter-affidavit was filed by the Department of Telecom in response to a petition filed by Reliance Infocomm challenging the penalty of Rs 150 crore imposed on it by the government for alleged illegal rerouting of international calls.

Meanwhile, NDTV quoted Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran as saying that the government would not be a silent spectator in Reliance Infocomm case and its licence could be revoked in case the private operator did not pay the penalty (imposed on it by the Department of Telecom).

The TV channel, however, said that Maran was of the view that it was for the courts to take the final decision in the case.

DoT submitted that 'non-payment of statutory charges by masquerading traffic affected the financial viability of other service providers and is not in any case in the public interest.'

"As there was established violation of licence conditions, there was no cause for the respondents (government) to withdraw the order of December 23, 2004," the affidavit said.

According to DoT, direct dedicated links to a foreign carrier for the switched voice telephony bypass the authorised switched routes of the international long distance service provider and are not allowed.

On the issue of changing caller line identification, DoT said that CLI is required for lawful interception of calls by the law enforcement agencies.

Incorrect CLI, as done by the private operator, also resulted in avoidance of payments of statutory charges as it masqueraded international traffic as domestic traffic and this act also endangered public interest, DoT said.

The various violations of the licence agreements have been clearly indicated in the order and the reasons for arriving at such a decision have also been indicated in DoT's order.

"It appears that the petitioner is only interested in delaying the execution of the orders," it added.

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