Tribunal asks Vodafone to pay Rs.25 crore penalty

November 18th, 2011 - 10:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) The telecom tribunal TDSAT has directed telecom service provider Vodafone to pay Rs.25 crore penalty, 50 percent of what the Department of Telecom (DoT) had earlier levied upon it for issuing bulk SIM cards without proper verification.

“The petitioner (Vodafone) may, therefore, deposit a sum of Rs.25 crore, being 50 percent of the amount, within two weeks from date subject to compliance of the aforementioned directions,” said the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in an order dated Nov 17.

The TDSAT bench headed by chairman Justice S.B. Sinha also said that it is difficult to accept the contention that when bulk connections of more than 10,000 connections had been given in favour of Matrix, the SIM cards could be rented out without the knowledge of the petitioner.

“The question as to whether the stipulations contained in the impugned order are correct or not, may have to be determined at the time of final hearing,” the order added.

Vodafone had entered into an agreement with telecom solutions service provider Matrix Cellular in 2003 when it was Hutch and had issued 10,000 SIM cards for its own use which were later in an enquiry by Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell of the DoT discovered to have been rented out by the operator.

The DoT, therefore, had on Oct 18, 2011 passed an order imposing penalty of Rs.50 crore on the telecom operator.

TDSAT said that it is of the opinion that Vodafone has violated the conditions of licence thus declining to deviate from the order passed by the tribunal in the case of Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular.

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