Rs. 290 cr penalty imposed on 2G licencees: Govt in SC

New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) Government has imposed apenalty of Rs 290 crore on 103 licencees which failed to meetthe roll out obligations for the 2-G spectrum after theymaintained that cancellation would not not in public interest,the Supreme Court was informed today.

It also said in an affidavit in the case relating to2G scam that 85 ineligible entities have been issued showcausenotices for cancellation of their licences issued during theregime of former telecom minister A Raja.

The affidavit also mentioned the defence taken by thecompanies which opposed the cancellation of licences fortheir failure to meet the roll out obligations.

"The defence of the licensees is that experience allover the world shows roll out may get delayed. This may leadto a monetary penalty but by itself cannot result incancellation of the licences.

"That is why the licences provide for imposition ofmonetary penalty. If a licence is to be cancelled after it isacted upon, only on account of delayed roll out, theinvestment made in infrastructure etc. would be renderednugatory which may not be in public interest," the affidavitsaid.

The demand notices levying liquidated damages forfailure to comply with the roll out obligations have beenissued to 103 out of 122 companies which were issued licencesin 2008 and Rs 206 crore as penalty has been recovered whileRs 83.72 crore was due.

Government said it received replies of 85 ineligibleentities and the entire matter now is being examined in theDepartment of Telecom.

"All the aspects of the matter are being examined bythe Department of Telecom and an appropriate decision will betaken in accordance with law," it said in the affidavit.

The Department of Telecom which filed the affidavitsaid, "where there has been a clear infraction such as delayedroll out, penalties have already been imposed".

"These Demand Notices have been issued afterascertaining the delay in meeting the roll out obligations andafter giving due consideration to the date of allocation ofspectrum and the average delays by the Standing AdvisoryCommittee on Frequency Allocation ("SACFA") clearances, ifany.

"It was a condition of the licence that for thepurposes of roll out obligation, the licensee company shouldprovide street level coverage in at least 90 per cent of thegeographical area of the District HQs/Town where the roll outhas been done.

"This evaluation is done by a technical team ofthe Department of Telecom called Telecom Enforcement, Resourceand Monitoring (TERM) cells," the affidavit filed by theDepartment of Telecom said. (More)PTI AAC RKS

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