New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT on Wednesday set aside the Rs 50 crore penalty imposed on telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea by the government for allegedly issuing bulk SIM cards to Matrix Cellular without proper verification.
A TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha said that "principles of natural justice" were not applied as the operators were not provided with a chance to present their case.
The tribunal asked DoT that the operators "may be served again with a show cause notice" and "on consideration of the causes shown by the petitioners fresh orders may be passed".
"They (operators) on receipt thereof must file their respective show causes within two weeks from the date of receipt thereof," the tribunal said.
It further said Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to "refund the amount deposited by the Petitioners with interest 9 per cent per annum within two weeks".
Earlier in interim orders, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had directed the operators to pay half of the amount, Rs 25 crore each.
The DoT had imposed penalty after it allegedly found that Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone violated licence norms by issuing bulk SIM card to Matrix and other telecom solutions providers.
Matrix is a leading provider of telecommunication solutions for Indians traveling abroad.
First Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 21:39