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Amar Singh factor in telecom probe

india Updated: Apr 07, 2009 22:17 IST
Manoj Gairola

It is on Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh’s complaint to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) against some telecom operators not classifying their revenues properly to evade licence fee, that the DoT has ordered a special audit of accounts of all integrated telecom players.

An internal note of DoT reveals that Singh had suggested a special audit of the accounts of all the telecom operators. Earlier in February, DoT had ordered special audit on Reliance Communications following a complaint by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

“We may invoke the relevant clause (in the licence agreement) as proposed in the case of Idea, Vodafone, Airtel and Tata Teleservices,” the note stated.

“This was also suggested by Shri Amar Singh, MP,” DoT secretary Siddharth Behura added to the note. “We may send him a suitable reply.”

Telecom operators have to pay to the government a licence fee of about 6 per cent of annual gross revenue (AGR) on long distance services. For access services (mobile and fixedline) the licence fee is up to 10 per cent.

By conducting a special audit, DoT wants to investigate whether these companies have shown revenues earned from access services under revenues from long distance services so as to avoid licence fee.

Telecom operators, meanwhile, say that DoT should not ask them to pay fee for the auditor. “If the DoT is conducting special audit on our accounts just to please a few persons, the department should ask them to pay auditor’s fee,” said head of a telecom operator who has been under scrutiny.