The Supreme Court on Monday directed private telecom firms to give their financials to the government auditor CAG, but stopped the auditor from vetting the papers till a case on jurisdiction was decided by the High Court.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia directed the members of GSM lobby COAI to give revenue sharing details to the country’s top auditor within two weeks from today to ensure that the government was getting its due by way of licence fee.
The apex court, however, said that no audit would be done as the matter on CAG’s jurisdiction to audit the accounts of private telecom companies is still to be decided by the Delhi High Court.
Till the hearing of the petition in High Court is pending, no steps shall be taken by CAG to carry audit of financial accounts based on the documents given by them (private telcos), the bench said.
“Each of the members of COAI, within two weeks must furnish to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) copies of revenue sharing details,” stated the bench, which also consisted Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatantar Kumar.
The court also said if CAG requires any further documents, the operators would have to provide them.
During the hearing, counsels appearing for CAG informed that some of the operators including Tatas have already submitted their revenue sharing details, while some other operators like Bharti are yet to do so.
The Delhi High Court had asked the telecom companies to submit their account books to CAG. CAG had been asked by the Centre to check if there was any under-reporting of revenue for calculating the licence fee.
The two telecom lobby groups — COAI (GSM operators) and AUSPI (CDMA players) — had challenged the recent CAG direction to the telcos to submit their revenue sharing details for auditing.
On May 20, telecom tribunal TDSAT had declined a request from Bharti Airtel and Vodafone to stay the CAG audit.