Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005
Info-Tech - Telecommunications
SC orders Reliance Info to pay dues within a week
New Delhi , Jan. 3
THE Supreme Court today allowed BSNL to disconnect Reliance Infocomm if it did not receive the outstanding payment of Rs 84.7 crore towards access deficit charges (ADC) within a week.
Rejecting a plea from Reliance to make the payment in the form a bank guarantee, the apex court said that it could not reverse its December 3 order, which asked the company to pay up the entire amount of Rs 182 crore.
BSNL had alleged that the Reliance group company had evaded revenue by re-routing international calls as local ones.
The private telecom operator has already paid Rs 98 crore and wanted to pay the remaining amount in the form of bank guarantee.
However, a bench comprising Mr Justice N. Santosh Hegde and Mr Justice S.B. Sinha said that it could not alter its December 3 order and directed Reliance Infocomm to pay up the entire amount of Rs 182.7 crore before the company's petition was heard by the Delhi High Court.
Appearing for the Reliance group company, senior advocate Mr Harish Salve said that the company has calculated the default to be only Rs 29 crore and since it has already paid Rs 98 crore, it be allowed to secure the outstanding amount of Rs 84.7 crore through bank guarantees.
Opposing the application, senior advocate Mr Soli J. Sorabjee and advocate Mr Maninder Singh contended that the petition, as directed by the apex court, would be heard by the High Court on January 13 and the December 3 order should not be relaxed.
They even opposed the extension of time for the payment of Rs 84.7 crore but the Bench said that if Reliance Infocomm did not pay it up within a week, BSNL would be free to take action, including disconnection of services.
The apex court had earlier fixed January 31, 2005 as the outer limit for the High Court to give its verdict on the petition filed by Reliance challenging the demand of Rs 182.7 crore made by BSNL.
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