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DoT Starts Sending Show-Cause Notices To Erring Telcos

PTI 13 Dec 2010, 20:49:12 IST
New Delhi, Dec 13: The telecom ministry today started issuing show-cause notices to telecom companies which allegedly suppressed information to bag licences or failed to roll out services in stipulated time.

"Show-cause notices to some firms have gone today and we expect to complete the process in the next few days," Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar told reporters here.

The notices would be served to about nine firms, consisting of 119 licences, of which 85 are allegedly ineligible to get licences and the remaining for missing roll-out obligations.

The notices for a total of 119 licences would be based on the list of licencees, as pointed out by the CAG, that were ineligible to get licences due to misinformation furnished by them. The telecom regulator TRAI also recommended cancellation of licences for lapses in roll-out obligations.

When asked how many notices were issued today, Chandrasekhar declined to divulge details, but said the process would be completed in a few days.

The Comptroller and Auditor General had listed out licences given to new operators, including Unitech, Videocon, S-Tel, Loop and Swan. TRAI also pointed lapses in licences held by these apart from few others while recommending their cancellation.

"We believe that some of the companies might have suppressed facts, might have got an undue advantage in accessing licences," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had said last week.

The government auditor CAG has quantified a revenue loss of up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore for giving licences and spectrum at 2001 price of Rs 1,651 crore for pan-India operations by former telecom minister A Raja in January 2008.

Chandrasekhar said the operators would be given 60 days to respond to the show-cause notices and each case would be dealt separately.

"After studying their response, a decision will be taken on whether these (licences) need to be cancelled or a penalty should be imposed," he said. PTI