Airtel faces Rs 650 crore penalty by telecom department

Telecom Lead India: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to slap a demand notice of Rs 650 crore on Bharti Airtel, India’s #1 telecom operator, for allegedly violating license norms on subscriber local dialing (SLD) services.

DoT this week has approved imposition of demand notices of financial penalty of Rs 500 crore and Rs 100 crore respectively on Bharti Airtel for violating license conditions by provisioning of SLD services, PTI reported on Wednesday.

Telecommunications and IT minister Kapil Sibal has approved the recommendations of a DoT committee which stated that the maximum permissible financial penalty of Rs 50 crore each for 13 circles where the violations took place may be imposed on Bharti Airtel.

When contacted, a Bharti Airtel spokesperson said, “We haven’t received any such notice and therefore will be unable to comment.”

The committee also added that Bharti Airtel should be asked to provide the call detail records (CDRs) of all calls in respect of the SLD service and the loss incurred to national exchequer in the form of license fee and spectrum charges should also be recovered from the company.

Sources said Bharti Airtel was offering SLD services in 2003 and despite being instructed to stop, the company kept on providing the service up to 2005.

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