The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to refund Rs 50 crore penalty that it had imposed on telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea for allegedly issuing bulk SIM cards to Matrix Cellular without proper verification.
DoT had imposed penalty after it allegedly found that the operators 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.
Post that, Vodafone had moved the telecom tribunal TDSAT in 2011. In an interim judgment, TDSAT had asked the operators to deposit 50% of the amount, Rs 25 crore each.
In a judgment in July, 2012, the tribunal had set aside the penalty imposed on telecom operators saying that 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".
It had further directed DoT to "refund the amount deposited by the Petitioners with interest 9% per annum within two weeks".