Sibal denies any favour to RCom


7 Apr 2011
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NEW DELHI: Union Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday rejected charges of favouring Reliance Communications (RCom) on the matter of penalties on interruption of service as per the agreement between USO Fund and the private operator.

“I am deeply grieved by what is happening by the PIL filed by an NGO in the Supreme Court stating that Telecom Minister has abused his power to reduce penalty on Reliance Communications to Rs 5 crore,” Sibal said, addressing a press conference after the PIL was filed, adding that PILs should not be “used to settle personal score”.

A petition submitted by advocate Prashant Bhushan and his NGO, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, alleged that instead of penalizing RCom owned by Anil Ambani Rs 650 crore for a contract allegedly violated by him, Sibal has asked for Rs 5 crore for interrupting service across 13 circles.

Sibal dismissed the charges against him as “malicious, motivated and defamatory” and said if such a scenario prevailed, a minister would not be able to take tough decisions.

Giving details of the issue, he said Reliance Telecom services were switched off for “whatever reasons” in November 2010 and on December 21, a show cause notice was issued to the company threatening imposition of “lump sum” amount of Rs 50 crore as penalty for the same.

“By the time the file came to me on February 16 this year, the services had been restored and the company paid a penalty of Rs 5.5 crore.”

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