New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT has refused to accept Reliance Communications’ application seeking refund of Rs400 crore from state-owned BSNL and MTNL as the Anil Ambani-led company did not pay the court fee in advance.
As per TDSAT rules, companies are required to pay 1.5% (up to a maximum of Rs50 lakh) of the amount to be recovered by the tribunal as fee. Since RCOM’s application was for refund of Rs400 crore from two companies, the tribunal had sought Rs1 crore as court fee.
According to sources, RCOM had offered to pay the court fee on receipt of refunds from BSNL and MTNL, but this did not find favour with the TDSAT.
However, tribunal officials have directed the company to submit the petition again.
RCOM had sought refund of Rs250 crore from BSNL and Rs150 crore from MTNL in a dispute over payments made in 2004 in a case of converting international calls as local ones.
The issue is related to routing of international long-distance calls as local ones by RCOM using BSNL and MTNL network. The government had imposed a penalty of Rs150 crore.
In March 2005, the tribunal had upheld the Rs150 crore penalty by observing that a breach was committed, putting the country’s security in jeopardy.
RCOM was also to pay Rs400 crore to the PSUs as charges on incoming international long distance (ILD) calls. Later, Reliance gave bank guarantee, instead of straight payment by cash or cheque to the public sector companies. This bank guarantee was encashed by the state-run firms.
At that time, rate for incoming international calls was Rs4.55 per minute, while local call rate was only 30 paise a minute.