Kolkata: Reliance Communications has dialled telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan, calling on the Department of Telecommunications to issue a no objection certificate (NoC) to its pending spectrum trading deal with Reliance JIO Infocomm.
The beleaguered Anil Ambaniled telco, in a letter to Sundararajan dated February 28, cited last week’s order issued by the Telecom Dispute Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) that clarified the liability of past spectrum-related dues lies with the airwaves seller and not the buyer. Here RCom is the seller and Jio is the buyer.
The telecom tribunal has asked DoT to reconsider approval to RCom’s pact to sell spectrum to Jio, adding that buyer Jio cannot be held liable until the airwaves trading deal is concluded.
In the event, if DoT does not clear RCom’s spectrum trading pact with Jio, the Anil Ambani-led telco might move Supreme Court soon as “it’s armed with a favourable telecom tribunal order”, a person with direct knowledge told ET.
Shares of RCom, which did not reply to ET’s requests seeking comments till press time, closed about 2% higher on BSE at ?6.61Monday.
DoT has so far refused to approve the spectrum sale after Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio said it can’t be held liable for RCom’s past dues. RCom had, subsequently, sought a clarification from the telecom tribunal on the interpretation of spectrum trading rules.
Spectrum related dues amounting Rs 2,947 crore is at the heart of a dispute between RCom, Jio and the DoT, which has stalled a highstakes spectrum trading pact between the Ambani brothers.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had directed DoT to approve RCom’s pact to sell 4G airwaves to Jio after accepting a ?1,400 crore corporate guarantee, instead of a bank guarantee, as well as a parcel of land from an RCom subsidiary to cover for ?2,947 crore spectrum user charge (SUC) claim.
However, DoT refused to play ball after Jio said it can’t be held liable for RCom’s dues, contending that both buyer and seller must agree to take care of previous dues of the seller, a stance subsequently backed by the apex court.
Last week, a senior DoT official once again ruled out an early NoC to the spectrum trading pact on grounds that all previous guarantees extended by RCom are now infructuous, especially since the Anil Ambani-led telco has announced plans to move National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) seeking bankruptcy protection.