Idea earns a temporary stay on DoT penalty

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Idea earns a temporary stay on DoT penalty
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Idea Cellular, Aditya Birla enterprise who is in midst of legal controversies since it acquired Spice Telecommunication in 2008 has got temporary stay from paying Rs 250 crore penalty imposed by Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The stay was given by Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), a quasi-judicial body that resolves disputes in the telecom sector.

When Idea acquired Spice Telecom in 2008, it had six overlapping licences and DoT imposed a penalty of Rs 50 crore on each.

But, penalty for Punjab region was waived because it has already received a similar ruling from the Punjab telecom service area earlier. So, it was asked to pay the penalty of Rs 250 crore for the remaining overlap of licenses in five circles.

TDSAT noticed that since the matter regarding transfer of licences is in the hands of Delhi High Court, the penalty of Rs 250 crore should be stayed.

The battle between Idea Cellular and DoT began after the latter went to the Delhi High Court asking it to stay the merger of the company with Spice Communications in 2008.

On Monday, Delhi High Court asked Idea to return 6 overlapping licences and spectrum to DoT besides imposing a fine of Rs1 crore.

"An interim order has been granted on Idea's plea against DoT's demand notice issued to Idea in June, 2011. Earlier, TDSAT had also ruled against DoT's demand notice imposing a penalty of Rs 50 crore for Punjab circle," Idea Cellular said in a statement.

Idea said that it had asked for DoT"s opinion on merging with Spice, but first the DoT was not much responsive and now it is going after the company in an effort to find fault with the merger process.


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