Tribunal asks Vodafone to deposit Rs 25 crore penalty

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New Delhi, Nov 19: The telecom tribunal, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has ordered Vodafone to pay Rs 25 crore penalty imposed on it by the Telecom Department (DoT) for issuing bulk sim cards without proper verification.

"The petitioner (Vodafone) may, therefore, deposit a sum of Rs 25 crore, being 50 per cent of the amount, within two weeks from date subject to compliance of the aforementioned directions," said the TDSAT in an order dated Nov 17.

The telecom service provider, Vodafone was found faulty in violating licence condition when it issued 10,000 SIM cards to Matrix Cellular Services, which offers telecom solutions to Indians visiting abroad. The TDSAT bench headed by its chairman Justice S B Sinha said that it is difficult to accept the contention that when bulk connections of more than 10,000 connections had been given in favour of Matrix, the SIM cards could be rented out without the knowledge of the petitioner.

Earlier, in 2003, Vodafone, when it was Hutch had entered into an agreement with telecom service provider, Matrix Cellular and had issued 10,000 SIM cards for its own use. Later, in an enquiry by the Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell of the DoT found that some numbers issued to Matrix by Vodafone were further rented out by the telecom solution provider. Meanwhile, the bench has directed Vodafone to pay Rs 25 crore within two weeks from the issuing of notice.

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