Telecom tribunal TDSAT today directed state-run MTNL to refund Rs 96.68 crore, the excess amount collected by the PSU from Reliance Communication as interconnect user charges (IUC), to the private operator.
The tribunal also asked MTNL to pay interest on the amount charged excessively from the Anil Ambani-led Reliance group firm in HDC (Home Direct Calling) issue.
Passing a judgement, the tribunal said that MTNL cannot escape from its earlier directions of October 17, 2012, to refund the amount.
“There is no escape from the fact that in terms of the judgement of the tribunal, MTNL is liable to pay the sum of Rs 96.78 crore along with interest as directed in paragraph 167 of the judgement to Reliance,” a TDSAT bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam said.
The order came over an execution application filed by RCom for implementation of October 17, 2012 order.
Providing clarification of its October 17 judgement, TDSAT said that both RCom and MTNL has completely misread it and the ADAG group firm was of view that it claims of 271.23 crore was fully allowed and the PSU was of view that it was entirely rejected by the tribunal.
“Reliance?s claim against MTNL, both Reliance and MTNL seem to have completely misread the Tribunal?s judgement.
Reliance seems to believe that its claim against MTNL was fully allowed and MTNL seems to take the position that Reliance’s claim against it was rejected in entirety,” the tribunal said.
However, the tribunal was of view that BSNL has complied to the earlier direction issued by it in this matter.
The matter is related Foreign Country Direct Service, which was started by a calling card service Reliance India. It enabled customers abroad to call India.
However, DoT held that it was not permissible under the licence granted to RCom. It also found that RCom was routing these international calls as NLD calls and imposed penalty.
Later BSNL and MTNL also raised demands for additional IUC charges from RCom based on international calls along with penalty for the period between May, 2004 to September, 2004.
An operator pays interconnect user charges (IUC) to other for landing calls of its user on the other’s network.
RCom had paid Rs 319.04 crore to BSNL and Rs 341.47 crore to MTNL under protest after both the PSUs issued notice to disconnect the firm from their network.
In July 2012, RCom had approached TDSAT seeking refund of Rs 110 crore from BSNL and Rs 267 crores from MTNL contending that the PSUs raised bills for the minutes in excess with the total minutes terminated in their network.