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TDSAT directs Star and DEN to conduct reconciliation of accounts

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed Star India and DEN Networks to hold a reconciliation of accounts which should conclude not later than 23 March.

DEN counsel Vibhav Srivastava stated that he would come with the cheque for the sum as may be determined on the basis of reconciliation of accounts on 24 March.

Anxious to collect all its revenues before the end of the financial year, Star India, which is a respondent in the case, had filed a miscellaneous application for direction to DEN, the petitioner in this case, to pay at least the admitted dues, as directed in the previous order.

While Star is claiming dues of Rs 16 crore (Rs 160 million), DEN has contended it owes only Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million), which it has already paid to the broadcaster.

Srivastava stated that the petitioner is more than willing to make payment of all admitted dues but what is required first is the reconciliation of accounts of the two sides.

He further stated that in case someone from the respondent’s office comes over to the petitioner’s office that would greatly help and expedite the reconciliation of accounts.

Star India counsel Salman Khurshid stated that the respondent’s representative would go to visit the petitioner on 20 March at 11 am.

The tribunal has listed the MA, along with the main petition, for hearing on 24 March.

In the earlier hearing, the tribunal had directed Star India counsel Saurabh Srivastava to file, within three weeks, the reply on the question arising in these petitions, i.e. fixing a reasonable rate of subscription fee for the period between the expiry of the last CPS-based interconnect agreement and the fresh RIO-based agreement that came into effect from 10 November 2014.

Star is asking DEN to pay the outstanding dues at Rs 27 CPS for entertainment as well as sports channel. The broadcaster has kept Rs 27 as the benchmark rate for national MSOs to pay outstanding dues since the tribunal had asked Hathway Cable & Datacom to pay at the same rate in the retrospective RIO case.

The tribunal had also clubbed DEN and Siti Cable cases as both the petitions raise the same question.