NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered status quo for 15 days on the telecom department’s demand of ₹1,627 crore for allowing the merger of Bharti Airtel with Tikona Wireless. The apex court asked both parties to approach TDSAT for hearing of review petition.
The court said, “We are giving no opinion on merits. Go to TDSAT."
The central government on 3 July moved the Supreme Court against the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) order that stayed the Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT’s) demand.
“...Accordingly, we direct the authorities concerned of the Union of India to take the merger of two companies and licence on record, subject to the under mentioned conditions and the final result of this petition… This interim order shall govern the parties till it is vacated or modified after considering any further or new material, which may be brought on record on behalf of the respondent," the TDSAT order had said.
DoT had in a letter dated 17 August, 2018, asked Bharti Airtel Ltd to pay in cash and through a bank guarantee a total of ₹1,626.89 crore to clear the merger with Bharti Digital Networks (formerly known as Tikona Digital Networks). Airtel had, however, approached the TDSAT, seeking a stay on the DoT demand.
DoT had asked Airtel to pay ₹185.62 crore in cash. This is the difference between the entry fee payable for a unified access service licence in the four telecom circles of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (east) and Uttar Pradesh (west) and the entry fee already paid by Tikona under the unified licence in the 2300 MHz band.