Court questions Idea Cellular on ‘illegal’ 3G services

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Monday issued contempt notices against telecom company Idea Cellular and its chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla for allegedly disobeying its earlier order by providing 3G services to new customers in areas for which it did not have a licence.

Hearing a contempt of court plea filed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Justice Rajiv Shakdher also issued notice to Himanshu Kapania, managing director of Idea; Akshya Moondra, chief financial officer; and P. Lakshminarayana and Pankaj Kapdeo, company secretaries of the telecom service provider.

The court sought their responses within four weeks and posted the matter for hearing Aug 5.

The DoT moved the court seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the telecom firm and its office bearers for deliberate disobedience of a judicial order passed April 12 by which the company was restrained from providing 3G services to its new customers in circles where it did not have the requisite licences.

The DoT said that instead of complying with the orders passed by the court, Idea Cellular filed an additional affidavit stating that it had additionally decided to provide 3G services to those existing customers who met the criteria.

There was no criteria provided by this court, the DoT said.

Later in the day, the telecom operator said in a statement: “Idea Cellular confirms that as per its compliance affidavit dated April 18, it continues to be in complete compliance with the order of the Delhi High Court, dated April 12, as regards 3G ICR (intra-circle roaming), and no new 3G subscribers have been added in the “3G Seeker Service Areas” of Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, North East, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.’

“In fact, the company continues to lose existing 3G subscribers in these 3G seeker service areas since the date of the court order,” it said

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