COAI chief rules out apology to Reliance Jio, overhaul of rules

COAI’s Rajan Mathews rules out an immediate overhaul of proportionate voting norms of the association as demanded by Reliance Jio


A file photo of Rajan Mathews, director general of COAI. Photo: Hindustan Times
A file photo of Rajan Mathews, director general of COAI. Photo: Hindustan Times

New Delhi: Rejecting Reliance Jio’s demand for an apology over issuing a press statement calling it a “Back Door Operator”, cellular industry body COAI’s director general Rajan Mathews on Thursday ruled out an immediate overhaul of proportionate voting norms of the association, as demanded by the new entrant.

“I don’t believe there is any need for an apology. The director general acts in accordance with the rules, regulations and constitution of the association. The DG does not make independent statements expressing his point of view,” Mathews told PTI.

On whether he has the full backing of COAI office bearers on the issue, Mathews said, “Absolutely.”

Asked if there is a case for COAI to overhaul its proportionate voting rules — which Jio has criticised as being skewed in favour of incumbent operators — Mathews said, “It is not necessary to move away from proportionate voting rights.” “The principal rationale is that you (members’ voting rights) have to be reflective of the representation you have in the market...,” he said.

Mathews said COAI has also asked internal legal experts as well as external advocates to examine the recent charges levelled by Reliance Jio that the association’s voting rights are in violation of Societies Registration Act and a Supreme Court ruling on BCCI.

“They (lawyers) will look at it (the charges) and tell us is there any validity — which we believe there is none — and tell us the appropriate language in which to respond to RJio,” Mathews pointed out.

In a statement issued last evening, Reliance Jio had said it has “already put Rajan Mathews on notice” demanding an apology for issuing the recent press statement calling the company a “Back Door Operator” or BDO.

Reliance Jio had further asked COAI to initiate appropriate action against Mathews, and had cautioned that “should they not act upon it, RJio will pursue legal recourse with full vigour”. “The press statement of COAI director general Rajan S Mathews (terming Jio as a back door operator on 25 September) is surreptitious, defamatory, and an act of contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court and devoid of any merit,” Reliance Jio had said in the statement.

Reliance Jio had said COAI and Mathews were fully aware that these allegations were part of a public interest litigation filed before the Supreme Court. “...and all of the said allegations have been duly adjudicated upon and rejected by the Supreme Court,” Jio had said.

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