Antrix disconnects signal supply to DTH operator Independent TV as dues remain uncleared

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MUMBAI: Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has disconnected the supply of satellite signal to direct to home (DTH) operator Independent TV.

The DTH operator’s satellite signal was switched off from 13th June after it failed to clear the dues as directed by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

In a message to its customers, the DTH operator has stated that the service is expected to resume only after 22nd June. “Dear customers, our services are suspended on account of satellite signal disconnection. Same are expected to resume only after June 22nd, 2019. Inconvenience is regretted,” Independent TV stated.

As reported by TelevisionPost.com, the TDSAT had granted one final opportunity to Independent TV to clear dues or face disconnection of transponder service from Antrix Corporation.

The tribunal had directed the DTH operator to either pay Rs. 9 crore to Antrix by 12th June or furnish a further bank guarantee of Rs. 15 crore by that date.

In case of default, the tribunal had granted Antrix the liberty to effect the impugned disconnection notice without waiting for any further directions of this tribunal. It was also granted the liberty to encash the Bank Guarantee in the event of default by the DTH operator.

“In case the petitioner tries to overreach this order by filing any further M.A. or moving any other authority, the respondent would be free to give effect to the disconnection notice at once on coming to know of such move,” the tribunal had stated.

The matter has been posted on the date already fixed 2nd July.

Independent TV had filed an application on 6th June to seek an urgent order so as to modify the directions in the order dated 29th May so as to continue the protection granted without payment of Rs. 4 crore by 5th June and further Rs. 5 crore by 12th June as contemplated in the order of 29th May.

The DTH operator had pleaded that its current account stands frozen for some reason.

The tribunal had stated that the order passed on 29th May was in the nature of a special accommodation for the DTH operator to overcome professed financial crises. We find nothing erroneous in that order so as to require any modification or reconsideration.

Independent TV was represented by senior counsel Salman Khurshid while Antrix and Union of India were represented by Ankur Singh and A.P. Sahay respectively.

It further stated that the fact that the DTH operator’s account is frozen, cannot help either party. “On that account, we are not persuaded to grant any further indulgence to the petitioner,” the tribunal had said in its order.

The tribunal had also stated that in ordinary circumstances, the application deserves to be rejected summarily but considering that DTH operator has admittedly made some considerable investment after it acquired the business of Reliance Big TV from Reliance Communication and it claims to be supplying TV signals to a large number of DTH consumers.


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