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TDSAT asks IMCL to pay Rs 16.55 cr to Taj Television

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed multi-system operator (MSO) IndusInd Media and Communications Ltd (IMCL) to pay balance amount of Rs 16.55 crore (Rs 165.5 million) to broadcaster Taj Television as liability for the period 1 April 2015–31 March 2016.

The amount is subject to verification of the amount paid by it in the month of March 2016 within a week from today.

IMCL counsel Vandana Jaisingh handed over four cheques amounting to Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) to Taj Television counsel Tejveer Bhatia.

The cheques are dated 31 March, but Bhatia has said that they will be presented for encashment before the bank only in the first week of May 2016.

Apart from the payment, the MSO will be liable to make payment for the month of April 2016, subject to any special discount, if any, in terms of the agreement, the tribunal said.

During the pendency of this petition, the two sides have executed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 30 March 2016 covering the period 1 April 2015–31 March 2016. IMCL received signals from Taj during this period without an interconnection agreement.

Despite the MoU, the parties are once again in dispute with regard to IMCL’s liability for payment under the MoU.

As per the MoU, IMCL’s liability was Rs 43.61 crore (Rs 436.1 million) up to 31 January 2016. Beyond 31 January, the monthly subscription fees for both Taj and Turner TV channels for the months of February and March 2016 come to Rs 15.41 (Rs 154.1 million).

Thus, the total liability of the MSO up to 31 March comes down to Rs 44.59 crore (Rs 445.9 million), the tribunal noted. The liability goes down to Rs 43.61 crore (Rs 436.1 million), taking into account certain payments made by the MSO in March 2016.

The MSO claims certain deductions in terms of the special discount given by the respondent after the execution of the agreement. It further claims certain deductions on account of TDS.

Its liability further goes down to Rs 26.55 crore (Rs 265.5 million) after taking into account the special discounts and on a deduction made for the same, as per charts submitted by Bhatia. According to this chart, the collection received from the petitioner in the month of March 2016 amounted to Rs 9.97 crore (Rs 99.7 million). However, Jaisingh stated that is a little more than the figure shown in Bhatia’s chart.