Telecom tribunal TDSAT has directed the government to reduce by 50 per cent the Rs 630 crore Financial Bank Guarantee (FBG) submitted by Uninor at the time of allotment of spectrum for 22 circles.
Passing an interim order, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) said that as no new demands have been raised by DoT against Uninor, it was entitled to get relief and FBG should be reduced.
“We, therefore, are of the opinion that in absence of any demand having been raised in respect of any amount which was not securitized and/or stated in clear terms, the additional sums, if any, cannot be required to be securitized, the Petitioners (Uninor)are therefore, entitled to the reliefs prayer for,” said TDSAT.
Meanwhile, TDSAT further asked Unitech Wireless, which runs services under Uninor brand to give an undertaking that if any dues are found payable to the Department of Telecom, it would compensate through the bank guarantee.
“We are of the view that end of justice would be subserved if respondent (DoT) is directed to reduce FBG to the extent of 50 per cent amount in each of the circle subject to the condition that if the amount of dues payable to the respondent in one circle is more than the amount of FBG in that circle, the respondent will be entitled to recover the amount from the FBG of any other circle.
“Not only this, Uninor will give an undertaking that in case some amount is payable to the respondent over and above the bank guarantees furnished, it will provide the bank guarantee as required,” said TDSAT.
Uninor was a JV between Norwegian telecom major Telenor and Indian realty firm Unitech. Last month, Unitech exited by selling its 32.75 per cent stake to Telenor.
The tribunal’s order came over a batch of petitions filed by Uninor, seeking review of its FBG by the DoT. According to the operator it has already paid the Adjusted Gross Revenue (licence fee) for two quarters and as per the terms and condition of its license, FGB should now be reduced/.
Uninor claimed that at this stage FBG of Rs 84.50 crore needs to be renewed by it in place of Rs 630 crore.
Opposing it, DoT had submitted before TDSAT that assessment for the years 2007-2008, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 were under process. Moreover assessment for 2011-12 is yet to be commenced as Uninor has not submitted documents.
DoT further contended that as Uninor’s licences have been cancelled by the Supreme Court, as part of 122 licences in the 2G spectrum allocation case, FBG should not be revised till clearance of its dues.
However, TDSAT followed its earlier orders and reduced the FBG. Last week, it had reduced the FBG of Videocon Telecom.
Meanwhile, TDSAT also said that its interim order would be “subject to the final outcome of these petitions”.