TDSAT works out interim arrangement between Kolkata 24×7, Antrix

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed RP Techvision, the owner of Bengali news channel Kolkata 24×7, to pay Rs 1 crore to Antrix Corporation by 31 December.

It further stated that Antrix should initiate the process of substitution of name of RP Techvision petitioner in place of the earlier entity SST Media, which was winded up due to bankruptcy, in the agreement as soon as the latter pays Rs. 50 lakh.

Antrix has to request to the Union of India (UOI) either for substitution or for a fresh agreement with effect from 1 April 2018 in continuity of the earlier agreement.

“We expect this process to be concluded as soon as petitioner pays the entire amount of Rs. 1 crore. This interim arrangement will continue until further orders in this regard,” the tribunal said.

Both the parties have been entitled to communicate this order to the concerned authority of UOI so that there is no undue delay at their end. The tribunal said that the broadcaster will continue to pay its current liability as per the existing arrangement.

It also asked RP Techvision to reply to the main petition be filed by Antrix within six weeks. Rejoinder, if any, be filed within four weeks thereafter.

The matter has been posted before the Court of Registrar on 8 January 2019 to pass necessary orders and directions to complete the pleadings and to make it ready so that it may be heard together with BP No. 423 of 2017.

RP Techvision had taken over Kolkata TV after its previous owner SST Media was winded up. After the winding up of SST Media, RP Techvision had stepped into the shoes of that entity. However, RP Techvision does not have an agreement with Antrix in its name. Apart from that the dispute over outstanding payable by the broadcaster also needs adjudication.

The parties are having dispute over accounts. The period covered by dispute is divided into two. The first period is upto 31 March 2014 and the other period begins thereafter and is continuing.

For realisation of the dues claimed by the respondent, it has already preferred a petition being no. BP No. 423 of 2017. RP Techvision has contested the dues for the first period mainly on the ground that the sale deed executed in its favour by official liquidator in the winding up proceeding mentions that the company SST Media has been transferred to the company without any liability.

Antrix contested this claim by relying upon the order passed by Calcutta High Court under which winding up materialised as well as by the Apex Court in a related proceeding.

Antrix claimed there is an outstanding of approximately Rs. 60 lakh, as the principal amount and Rs. 87 lakh approximately as the interest on account of delayed payment by the petitioner. The dues are for the period post March 2014.

On the other hand, RP Techvision counsel submitted that Antrix is not justified in claiming license fees for alleged illegal use for about two years and interest thereupon when Antrix did not issue invoices for that period. In reply, Antrix counsel submitted that charges have been levied for the actual use which can be established by proof. Antrix has started issuing invoices under RP Techvision’s name since April 2018.

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