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DoT slaps Rs 1,637 cr demand from 5 telcos for hiding revenues

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New Delhi The Telecom Ministry issued show- cause notices to five private operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and RCom, for under reporting revenues, as per a special audit report, for assessment years 2006 to 2008 and raised a de

mand of Rs 1,637 crore from them.

Tatas and Idea Cellular have also been served notices by the the Department of Telecom ( DoT) which has given 21 days time to response to the notices. It could not be confirmed how much demand has been raised from these operators individually. Sources said the demand ranges between Rs 115 crore to Rs 560 crore.

Telecom regulator Trai in 2009 had asked the Department of Telecom ( DoT) to conduct a special audit of financial accounts of these five telecom companies for the 2006- 08 period.

The move was to check operatorsalt39 scope to arbitrage, which is shifting revenue from higher licence fee to the lower side. The UASL ( basic and mobile) telephony has a licence fee of 6- 10% where as NLD, ILD, ISP and Internet Protocol has 6%. Trai had noticed that some of operators were showing more revenue in segment that carried lower licence fee.

Reacting to the show cause notice, a Vodafone India spokesperson said, ” Vodafone India follows the highest standards of accounting discipline and compliance norms… We are confident that there is no additional fee liability for the period under audit. We will study the show cause notice when we receive it and decide on future course of action.” Meanwhile, telecom tribunal TDSAT asked operators to file fresh, circle- wise petitions contesting the adjusted gross revenue demands of the government toward licence fees within a period of three weeks. It also asked operators to file a chart showcasing the year- wise consolidated demand in every circle.