Reliance Jio says COAI’s statements defamatory

Reliance Jio said COAI’s allegations of being a back-door operator are defamatory and borders on contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court

Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint

New Delhi: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL) on Wednesday termed a statement issued by lobby group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) as “defamatory” and “devoid of any matter”.

“The press statement of Sh. Rajan S. Mathews skirts away from discussing the genuine need to deliberate RJIL’s concerns and fair need to overhaul COAI’s regulations,” RJIL said.

Mathews had on 26 September issued a statement calling Reliance Jio Infocomm a back-door operator after the company suggested overhaul and amendment of COAI’s regulations in a letter addressed to COAI on 23 September. Reliance Jio said the allegations of being a back door operator are defamatory and borders on contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court.

COAI also contended Reliance Jio was aware of the terms, conditions and functioning of COAI at the time of becoming its member to which Reliance Jio said, “While RJIL was indeed aware of the extant COAI’s regulations at the time of becoming a member, RJIL cannot be restrained to raise its genuine and fair concerns, especially and more so, when the incumbent dominant operators are colluding to use the very same COAI regulations against RJIL to promote their anti competitive activities.”

The charges on COAI by Reliance Jio are that of being a voice for only top three telecom firms—Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular Ltd—and not functioning as per the regulations of Societies Registration Act of 1860.

COAI in response to Reliance Jio’s statement on Wednesday said the allegations lacked merit and are intended to bring disrepute to the association. “COAI is disappointed that Reliance Jio, who is our member has taken internal association matters which can very well be settled within the association into a public forum. We reiterate that appropriate forums exist within the association for discussing these matters and they remain available to RIL Jio, who is a member,” Mathews said.

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